Social media disrupts teen sleep

Nigh

If you ban electronics from your teenager’s room at night and want more proof you’ve made the right call, some scientists in Wales have your back.

In a new study, they document how using social media at night disrupts adolescent sleep and argue it is likely the biggest reason so many teenagers say they feel tired when they go to school.

Their study found that more than 20 percent of teens “almost always” wake up at night to check messages or to respond to friends, using their phones or computers for these nocturnal social media sessions.

Up to another 15 percent said they woke up at least once a week to check social media.

That’s a lot of teenagers clocking screen time in the middle of the night.

These nighttime behaviors seemed to – no surprise here – correlate closely with teenagers reporting that they are sleepy when heading to school, the study found.

From 54 % to 58 % of those who got up to check social media said “they almost always go to school feeling tired,” it said.

And that’s a problem because sleep deprivation has been associated with lower academic achievement, noted the study from the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research at Cardiff University.

On the flip side, they wrote, “We find that young people who go to school less often feeling tired are, on average, happier with themselves and their school life.

“Experts have been warning for awhile that screen time disrupts children’s sleep.

The new study, which involved kids ages 11 to 15, concluded that using phones and computers in the middle of the night stamped out the other efforts parents often make when it comes to teens and sleep.

In fact, the authors write, the “potential benefits” of regular and reasonable bedtimes “appear to be entirely expunged if young people are then waking up during the night to use social media.”

But rather than force your child to leave their favourite toy out of the bedroom you can set reasonable limits on using online features via Safe Lagoon. The enhance functionality gives you many choices to schedule the access to online services and apps. Thus you can make sure your child is having sweetest dreams without being interrupted by a new comment on Facebook even if the phone stays beside the bed at night.

Internet of Hamelin

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Everyone is familiar with the old tale about Pied Piper of Hamelin. Peculiarly enough it became extremely relevant today. As the story goes the rat-catcher is tricked by Hamelin’s magistrate who refuses to pay him money for extermination of rats in the city which leads to the Piper giving his revenge by beckoning children with his magic pipe into the waters where they vanish forevermore.

The legend origins from Middle Ages and it surely serves as a metaphor, not a straight story. But it is aimed at parents who didn’t pay enough attention to keep their children safe and let a stranger lead them into the abyss.

About 700 years late parents are still that naïve. The Pied Piper hasn’t gone anywhere – he became even more sophisticated, he uses disguises, he creeps right from the wireless networks of your home. Today his name is Internet. Our children follow him wherever he goes enchanted by the magic music. We thought that Internet only means to make learning process easy for our little ones. No more need to go to the libraries since it’s all there – the tons of useful information. We were told that World Wide Web contains every bit of data.

Every single bit. Can you imagine? There are places we certainly do not want to show our precious and unspoiled kids. We must not fear to use the term Parental controls – it may sound detached, Orwellian even, but all we are about as parents is Protection, not Restriction.

Let us ask ourselves a simple question: are we doing enough for our children to be safe? We always taught them to avoid talking to strangers, cross the streets at green light only, keep away from the fire and sharp things.  We tie a scarf around their necks on a windy day so they do not catch a cold. We do our best at being the keenest parents imaginable as long as we rest assured that there is no more we could do for the well-being of our children. Who else would care but us?

But sometimes the danger appears out of nowhere. The flashing screen – harmless companion of our days – a toy for killing time and searching things we do not know. Just yet. We must admit that Internet has become the part of our lives which we neither can deny of fight against. And the landscapes online are so vast we can lose our kids there in no time. There never will be enough time and effort to keep an eye on them at every single second. To forbid going there is not entirely fair isn’t it? As we use Internet for our good day after day – apps for this, auto-updates for that. And we wish the same easy arranged feature for our kids as now and in the future – there is no way of stopping the progress and we know that we do not need to. All we need is to show our children the safe path for internet-surfing so they can find what they are looking for without hurting themselves in any way.

‘Parent’ as a full-time occupation

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Once young and unexperienced parents face any problems considering their dear kids all I hear is: “Let professionals take care of this situation. They will know exactly how to deal with it.”

This habit has taken roots so deeply in our minds we see it as a normal state of things which is perfectly explainable. Say, why would you fix the fridge yourself when you can call a skilled specialist armed with instruments and experience to get it running again in to time? Or.. you are not supposed to address dental pain with a make-shift, are you?

But to my way of thinking there are areas you should not entrust a strange person utterly and completely no matter how skillful this person appears to be. It certainly will not do with up-bringing of your own child. When it’s time to introduce your child to social institutions such as kindergarten and later – school – it goes without saying that you will do your best to find the friendliest place ready to provide the most professional level of assistance.

But look at you – you are already a professional working as a “parent” at full-time job! No one knows you better when your own parents, no one spends that much time with you. No one cares that much about child’s happy future and well-being. And every discovery, every difficulty in their life they share first and foremost – with the closest keen they know – their parents.

Thus you as a parent must find ways to enhance your professional level since there might be people to help you (such as school teachers and doctors) but the responsibility for up-bringing your children rests on your shoulders alone. And as for “parental control” issue you cannot push it on o anyone – you must seek possibilities to get acquainted with anything new in the world of nowadays technology and information security – find it, learn it, master it to the best of your abilities as it is a key for helping your child to stay safe and guided.

Remember that there is no other occupation as noble and proud as a Parent!