Why Digital Curfew is pivotal in a teen’s technology dependent world.

8 Sep

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Gone are the days when mobile phones and laptops were just for adults. Today almost every teen has his/her own cell phone and the result – constant communication with friends and sometimes even strangers.

Texting goes on until they fall asleep and then whenever the ‘ping’ demands their attention they are up and ‘sleep texting’. The definition of sleep texting being- use of a cell phone to send messages while remaining asleep.  Is this a cause for concern?? …. yes it is!

Our teens need 8 to 8.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Gadgets in their rooms are definitely not conducive to falling asleep. The artificial light from these gadgets suppress the release of melatonin – A sleep inducing hormone, not to mention how much they never end up discovering the joy of reading before bedtime. The chance to read, think or just be alone with oneself is fast vanishing in our tech dependent world.

Many kids admit to talking or texting after their parents go to bed. As a result, they lose out on sleep and in school they are bleary eyed, distracted and moody. Their performance and productivity drop; Health in general is sabotaged.

Asking them to stay away from their phones post 9 pm is like Canute trying to hold back the tides. Not happening! They have a zillion reasons why they need their phones beside them. The only thing that works is a sit down talk and then  set a consistent digital curfew time at least an hour before they go to sleep. Teens are so attached to their phones that doing something like that would feel like ripping off a band aid …Ouch! No doubt they will protest for a while but it will free them from from their addiction.

Family rules like – Cell phones powered off and out of sight an hour before bedtime is a good way to begin. A bedroom needs to be free from anything that obstructs sleep. Make this a default family habit. Before you even think its impossible; remember you’ve lived through the landline days.

Another rule could be – No devices during meal times.

 These rules work best when you hand them their first cell phones as preteens. Children will benefit from knowing that while you can stay connected easily through technology you also need to set boundaries so others respect your need for family time.

Teens need both parent and peer connection and also some downtime, that is, connection with oneself to synthesise information and develop a personal self. The 24/7 peer connect deprive teens of having a separate family connect or even some downtime on their own.

While cell phones are a teens most cherished possession and essential for their social lives, they need to be educated about the ill effects of excessive social media consumption, sleep deprivation and the other risks posed by the overuse of technology.

The digital world will only expand in the years to come, therefore as adults we need to we show young people the benefits of a healthy, balanced approach towards technology.

 

 

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