Survey: Late Nights Online Affecting Behavior and Academic Performance, Worrying Parents

The majority of parents have found their kids using social media or browsing the Internet when they were supposed to be sleeping and parents are worried that the lack of sleep is causing their kids to be more irritable and less able to concentrate on schoolwork, according to the results of a new survey.

Stop Procrastinating, a company that offers site blocking and filtering software, conducted the survey of 3,000 parents of children aged 12 to 15 between August 14 and September 18, 2015. The survey found that parents are concerned about the effects of late-night Internet use on their children's behavior and academic performance, but they also feel like they are "unable to ban the use of social media as its presence is so pervasive," according to a news release from the company.

"Children used to be caught having a midnight snack or reading under the bed covers, now they are staying up late into the night browsing the internet or using social media, sending messages to friends," said Tim Rollins, research director at Stop Procrastinating, in a prepared statement.

Key findings from the survey:

  • 74 percent of parents said they believe late-night Internet use has affected the quality of their children's sleep;
  • 62 percent told researchers they think their kids are more irritable and less able to concentrate as a result of their late-night online activities;
  • 69 percent said they are worried the behavior could lead to fatigue and reduced concentration on schoolwork;
  • 37 percent indicated they are worried that it could lead to anxiety and depression;
  • 51 percent reported a noticeable effect on their children's ability to finish homework;
  • 36 percent told researchers they had raised the issue with teachers, who also noticed that the children were more tired;
  • 59 percent of parents said they had observed their kids using social media while doing homework and worried about the effects of multitasking on academic concentration and performance; and
  • 42 percent reported feeling guilty that their children's education was being affected by late-night Internet use.

Stop Procrastinating weighted the survey results for age and region and used "standard national opinion polling methodologies," according to a news release from the company.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].