Cell Phones and Sleep Deprivation: Are We Finally Waking Up to the Reality?

kiwanja_san_francisco_texting_11Image by kiwanja via Flickr

Last year, in the blog post Kids Sleep with Cell Phones: Are They Suffering fromConnection Addiction? students had shared with me a digital citizenship principle that they believed strongly.

“In this gcast podcast, I discuss what my son told me about his friends “sleeping with their cell phones” under their pillow and texting through the nightI've talked to three different groups of students and all of them report that over half of their friends will cell phones sleep with them under their pillow on vibrate and text through the night.”

 This is one common thing that I've shared while traveling around and speaking about digital citizenship — Digital Health and Wellness and Addictive issues are important.

The New York Times now has an article Texting May Be Taking a Toll in their health section about this very same thing.

“The phenomenon is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists, who say it is leading to anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation.
 
Dr. Martin Joffe, a pediatrician in Greenbrae, Calif., recently surveyed students at two local high schools and said he found that many were routinely sending hundreds of texts every day.

“That’s one every few minutes,” he said. “Then you hear that these kids are responding to texts late at night. That’s going to cause sleep issues in an age group that’s already plagued with sleep issues.””

The smartest ideas I've heard are one's we've adopted here at the Davis house — cell phones are to be docked in the KITCHEN between 9 and 10 pm each night.  Does it always happen — NO!!   Often the cells sneak with the kids into their rooms – and other parents say the same thing.

I had a comment left on the old post yesterday that says:

“Seriously? What is wrong with the parents? I haven't even owned a cell phone (i just don't see the problem with being away from the phone for a period of time). I don't get it.”

Well, this comment comes from someone who perhaps doesn't have teenagers.   Teenagers do things we don't agree with all of the time! That is life!  They aren't robots, they are their own person and haven't yet formed the parts of their brain that help them have wise judgment and discernment.

I remember two young kids in one of our training classes for Digiteen (done by my 9th graders for the 5th graders) admitting that they sent 500 text messages in one day and went for over 48 hours without sleeping from it!

Sometimes the kids need to know to turn off their cell, but parents must beware lest four of our fingers point back at us.  I'll never this scene from an old post Going from “It” to “Out” Dealing with Network Withdrawal:

But there was a little boy in the corner. His kite wouldn't fly.

You see. His Mom was on her cell phone.

The little sad boy with his lip quivering was trying to get the kite in the air while the Mom was giving her half attention as she exclaimed why she didn't like flying kites any more.

Her body was there. She wasn't.

Parents need to wake up
I'm tired of hearing parents complain about kids and cell phones when parents are horrible offenders too!

I see so many people so busy being somewhere else.

We're trying to be “it” and don't want to be left “out” so we forget “it.” We forget the meaning in life, I think.”

Cell phones are things. Now, if they connect us to people in positive ways, that is great.  But really between 9 pm and 6 am they should be off unless you're out somewhere.  This is NOT  popular view with my teenage son!!! I am really bad for saying it.


But he had a very interesting conversation last night with his Dad about the history of Ireland.  And that is it!

 Parents, what do you do about texting?  What are your cell phone rules?  And if we listen to students such as done with Digiteen, they will tell us about these behaviors and we can deal with them before they even hit our own radar!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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2 comments

Christine May 27, 2009 - 12:59 pm

My teenage son doesn’t seem to have quite the same issues with the cell phone attachment as my teen daughter does. But, she voluntarily agreed to go to a camp for two weeks that prohibits bringing cell phones. We were shocked! I think she wants to prove she can do it, and perhaps, just get away from the drama that is a teen girl’s life for awhile.

Thanks for the post. This is another example of taking things in moderation.

Brenda February 21, 2010 - 8:14 pm

I love this article. It is good for me as a teacher, parent, and cell phone user. Society has gotten us so wrapped up with being accepted (even by complete strangers) that all too often we forget about the truly important things. I am guilty of that at times too. What a great reminder that we need to make sure that our children know they are first! We are our children’s models!

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