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Title: Beyond 'screentime' : reframing bedtime social media use as a social interaction with unique implications for adolescent sleep
Author: Scott, Holly
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 0806
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2019
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There is significant current attention towards the possible impact of social media on adolescent wellbeing, with concerns voiced by parents, educators, practitioners and national policymakers. This includes a focus on social media's influence on sleep, which plays a crucial role in supporting physical and mental health, emotional wellbeing and academic performance during this developmental period. However, there are key limitations in the existing evidence base available to support informed decision-making in this area. These include a prevalent techno-centric focus on "screentime" - which is typically measured only in hours per day and often framed negatively or pathologised - and a lack of adolescent voice. This PhD aims to target gaps in current understanding of adolescent social media use and sleep, enriching the evidence and tools available to support future research, practice and policy. This thesis presents four studies, which contribute to building new understanding of the unique implications that social media interactions - unlike other forms of technology use - have for adolescent sleep. Chapter 3 makes use of data from a large representative UK sample, to establish a normative profile for current adolescent social media use and to quantify links to a range of sleep parameters, controlling for an extensive range of covariates. Chapter 4 uses rich focus group data to provide an adolescent perspective on emotional, social and cognitive drivers for bedtime social media use that can make it difficult for some adolescents to disengage at night. Chapter 5 takes these qualitative findings as a foundation for developing a new validated self-report measure that captures this difficulty disengaging from social media at night due to concerns about staying connected and following etiquette. Chapter 6 considers the practical application of the new knowledge gained from these studies, by consulting with relevant stakeholders to develop and pilot a new school-based lesson programme that specifically targets the role of social influence in adolescent bedtime social media and sleep habits. These studies advance current understanding by highlighting the unique implications that this inherently social and interactive experience has for adolescent sleep, beyond simply another hour of daily "screentime". Together, these findings indicate that adolescent sleep research and practice need to reframe social media not simply as a technology-based activity, but as a highly motivating and rewarding source of peer interactions, which understandably competes with sleep during a developmental period of heightened sensitivity to social influences. Adopting this approach can extend current models of adolescent sleep, inform up-to-date interventions and education strategies, support more efficient future research and guide a more constructive narrative in public and policy spheres.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: BF Psychology ; RJ Pediatrics