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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Clancy

Sleep, Self-harm and Absenteeism: Education Executive

The first generation to grow up in households with smartphones along with the pandemic could be reasons why self-harming and absenteeism may be surging according to Hywel Parry, a Headteacher concerned about the rise in figures.  The article in Education Executive discusses this further.


Research suggests that since smartphones were released children’s mental health has been impacted, particularly where clear boundaries are not in place with regards to usage and monitoring of websites/social media.  It can be difficult to implement boundaries around phone usage, particularly if children have become accustomed to using devices at any time, however, it’s never too late to put boundaries back in place - it just may take extra effort, patience and commitment. 

There seems to be a trend in young people sleeping with their phones, sometimes still on and connected so that sleep might be shortened or disturbed when new alerts come through.  The capacity for young people to ‘switch off’ is becoming more difficult, particularly since the applications on mobile phones are connected to the reward centres in the brain; hence there is an addictive quality which makes it that much harder for the developing brain to choose sleep and rest over checking the latest updates.

If you are parenting a young person who seems to be struggling with managing their devices or who is affected by sleep issues, self-harm or school refusal, child therapy or parenting support may be a helpful way forward.  Please feel free to email me to find out more. I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.

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