Two students from St Brogan’s College, Bandon, have discovered that teenagers become less emotionally intelligent as they get older due to academic pressure, social media and excessive screen time.
Lucy Teape and Lisa Nield from Ballinadee have carried out extensive research on the importance of emotional intelligence in young adolescents for their entry to this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.
This term they have completed comprehensive quantitative and qualitative research on the topic, working with fellow students and staff at St Brogan’s College. They have discovered that emotional intelligence actually decreases in the first three years of secondary school between the ages of 13-16.
Lucy and Lisa say they were surprised at this finding. “We read a lot of other research before we conducted our own,” Lucy said. “At this age, emotional intelligence would be expected to rapidly increase, but we found it was in decline.”
“When we asked teachers, guidance counsellors and other educational experts why this might be the case, they blamed the over-emphasis on academic success, social media, and teenagers having too much screen time,” said Lisa.
They also came up with another surprising fact.
“Our research shows that emotional intelligence is not higher in girls – many educationalists believe girls are ahead of boys when it comes to emotional intelligence but this is not the case. Girls need just as much support with EQ as their male counterparts,” Lucy said.
The girls believe that all the stakeholders in secondary school education – schools, teachers, parents and the Department of Education – should take cognisance of this research to ensure that happy young adults emerge from our second level schools.
They students presented their findings at the exhibition in the RDS in January.
Lucy Teape and Lisa Nield with their science teacher
Laura O Regan.