Monday 18 December 2017

Third of teenagers sleep with their mobile phones under the pillow

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

IT is permanently glued to their hands, but now teenagers' obsession with their mobile phones has reached a new extreme with almost a third sleeping with it under their pillow each night.

A census of more than 7,000 secondary school pupils also found that they are not eating enough fruit and vegetables or getting enough exercise. However, they are playing less computer games than parents might think.

The CensusAtSchool survey found that almost a third of students sleep with their mobile phones under their pillows, with girls (35pc) more likely than boys (23pc) to do so.

Most students get out of bed between 7.30am and 8am, although there are some late risers (4pc) who admit to lingering under the duvet until after 10am.

Once awake, 80pc will eat breakfast at home before they go to school, however one in 10 will skip the most important meal of the day altogether.

The most popular breakfast choice is cereal with 53pc of respondents selecting this, followed by toast (17pc) and a cooked breakfast (6pc).

Around 3pc admitted they chomp through sweets, chocolate and cake first thing in the morning.

Of those who do not eat breakfast, girls are more likely than boys to skip it with girls in fourth and fifth years the worst for failing to fill up. Almost 20pc of fifth year girls admitted they go without breakfast.

Fortunately their eating habits improve when they reach their Leaving Cert year as the numbers skipping breakfast fall back to 10pc for both sexes.

But both boys and girls are still not eating the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day, with both sexes managing just over three portions the previous day.


When it comes to exercise, 57pc of students said they had taken part in a competitive sport at school last year while 65pc reported that they were involved in a sporting activity outside of school.

Worryingly, around 15pc of respondents said they did no exercise at all while over half said they exercised for only one to two hours a week.

The most popular sport among young people is football (14pc), followed by Gaelic football (13pc) and basketball (9pc). Hurling, dance and rugby also feature highly among students.

And while parents may complain that their teenage son or daughter is forever playing computer games, they may be spending less time glued to the screen than parents think.

Students were asked to calculate how much time they spent each week playing motion-controlled games such as Wii, Xbox and PS3.

Around 5,000 pupils answered this question with almost half saying they played no computer games at all and around one-fifth reporting that they played for less than one hour a week. Meanwhile, just 2pc of respondents said they played such games for more than 10 hours a week.

The CensusAtSchool survey was carried out in 216 schools in the 12 months to August.

The project, which is sponsored by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the Central Statistics Office, was introduced to Ireland in 2009.

Each year it asks students to fill in a different census form. In previous years, pupils have been asked to name their favourite football team, school subjects and how they travel to school.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News