Join this Citizen Science project & spend as little as 8 minutes to help build upon the current research findings & become part of a much larger drive to help steer both clinical & digital research. Let's make a difference!
Children are one of the largest consumers of technology.
Children, adolescents, kids, youths, young people, call them what you like, they have all grown up using technology so readily, it’s almost an extension of the body. Children can be classed as ‘digital natives’. We live in an attention economy with so much information being processed and ignored on a daily basis that the quickest way to absorb this is digitally.
On 5th August, 2010, the then CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, stated that every 2 days we create as much information as we did in the time period between the dawn of civilisation up to 2003. He stated this was around five exabytes of data, every 2 days.
This digital environment has led to an increase in the amount of time that children spend using digital screens and other forms of technology. Some schools even require their students to submit homework via digital devices, some issuing iPads and tablets for that very purpose. This increase in screen time is all part of modern education.
The portability of technology coupled with the drive for more compact devices that have multi-functions, has led to a dramatic rise in the use of mobile phone technology amongst adolescents.
The technology that we have today, being of a 24-hour nature, has brought the entire world closer together, enabled communication and provides information on-tap at a moment’s notice. This has created a societal addiction to information and the need to remain constantly connected to one another.
Alongside this rise in the use of technology during bedtimes, is the problem that adolescents get fewer hours of sleep during weekdays and this affects their abilities during the daytimes both inside and outside the school setting.
Some studies have shown that a reduction in sleep or sleep disturbance has other consequences including long-term health affects to motor development, weight gain, cognitive functioning, increased addictions to caffeine and nicotine and even suggestions of cancer growth.
Although the various mechanisms that affect circadian rhythms have remained similar throughout history, it’s only in recent times that technology has started to play its part and the things that accentuate these mechanisms are related to what we term, ‘zeitgeist.’ The Oxford English Dictionary defines zeitgeist as, “…the general mood or quality of a particular period of history, as shown by the ideas, beliefs, etc. common at the time.” These are things like societal, cultural, technological and general lifestyle trends that occur within each era.
There is already a wealth of research covering different age demographics and some indicating a causal link between night time technology use and daytime sleepiness. These studies aren’t confined to the UK. Research has been undertaken in many countries around the world.
The aim of this citizen science project is to build upon the original research study and to see whether it can be established through empirical study of a statistically significant-sized data sample, that bedtime technology has an affect on circadian rhythms in adolescents all around the world and not just in the UK. This project focuses on 3 core areas: i) Sleep; ii) Bedtime technology and iii) Circadian rhythms.