Secondary school students are spending up to six hours a day on smartphones and other electronic gadgets, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday, citing a survey.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University polled 750 secondary school students and found they are getting less than eight hours of sleep per day on average.
The survey found out that the amount of time the students spend using their smartphones or other gadgets affected the number of hours of sleep and its quality.
However, it found that the amount of time they spend watching TV does not affect the quality of sleep.
Dr. Samson Fong of the Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists said playing with smartphones in bed disrupts the body’s natural sleep patterns.
Dr. Mak Yim-wah, an assistant professor at PolyU’s School of Nursing who oversaw the survey, said smartphones are portable and easily become addictive for teenagers, who tend not to control the time they spend on them.
Mak said the performance of students during the daytime could be seriously affected, especially those in the lower secondary grades, if they average less than eight hours of sleep per day.
Elda Chan, supervisor at the TWGHs Integrated Centre for Addiction Prevention and Treatment, said secondary school students should not go to bed with their smartphones turned on.
Even if a phone is switched to silent mode, the notification sound or vibration caused by an incoming Whatsapp or other message can distract someone who is trying to sleep, Chan said.
Hong Kong Christian Service supervisor Lee Chin-hei suggested that students lay down some rules among themselves, such as handing over their smartphones during a gathering or a meal, to minimize the disturbance from the gadgets during the social event.
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