Lights Out…Devices Off!

A recent article in Great Schools presented a great suggestion for the control of cell phones and electronic devices. Establish a digital curfew! Studies continue to confirm that using “smartphones” late at night, particularly visits to social media sites, has a direct link to depression, reduced self-esteem, and poor coping skills. Without question, we have seen this played out at St. Michael’s with our students, particularly those who are not able to put their devices aside or impose their own boundaries. One survey even found that 1 in 5 teens regularly woke during the night to check their messages. The result of sleeping with phones and checking them often is that sleepy, tired students come to school and struggle to be attentive throughout the day.

So how do we help our young smartphone users get better sleep and unplug for the night? The idea of a digital curfew makes perfect sense. Establishing the habit of turning off and turning in devices for the night might just come as a relief for kids who just don’t yet know how to say “no”. Perhaps, even collectively, everyone in a household could turn off all devices before turning in for the night. And for those who say, “But my cell phone is my alarm clock”? Most drugstores sell simple alarm clocks for $10 or less!

The complete article, “Does Your Teen Have a Digital Curfew?”, can be found on the website www.greatschools.org.