Sleep (with) It Off
Anxiety, Depression, Less Sleep – and Poor Academic Performance? by Michael J. Petrilli
Education Next, October 26, 2023
Michael J. Petrilli aims to refocus attention on cell phone overuse and its detrimental effects as the world races to grapple with more recent social-emotional and technological issues that hinder achievement, learning, and well-being. While he does not contend that smartphone and social media use can be inextricably linked to spikes in anxiety and depression among teenagers over the past decade, he draws upon findings that indicate greater intentionality and precautions must be taken to prevent overuse, addiction, and the potential complications associated with this kind of technology. Petrilli also makes potential connections between smartphone use and the "plateauing and decline of student achievement that we’ve seen in America, also starting around 2013, long before pandemic-era shutdowns sent test scores over a cliff." Petrelli notes additional factors that have influenced achievement, as well as the gaps in research, with fewer studies including the lowest-achieving students from underprivileged backgrounds. He draws most heavily on studies correlating sleep deprivation and a detrimental impact on learning, which he links to technology use. Sufficient sleep and intentional structure for technology use may be the simplest solution to bolster student learning and emotional health.