What’s your Tech Curfew?

You have one, right? What about your kids?

There’s been a lot of research lately about the impact of screen time on our sleep, but it still doesn’t seem to be getting through.

It’s like… we know that screen time right before bed isn’t good for us – and we get it –  but there are just so many important things to do, people to talk to, shows to watch, shoes to buy, emails to answer, videos to download, games to play, life to live…

You know the drill.

But here’s the thing… life isn’t that much fun when you’re sleepy. You’re distracted, kind of cranky… and according to this new issue of The Atlantic, you’re not that attractive either.

Guess they don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing.

So set a time and shut it down.  You can read, play a game, or do something real crazy and old-timey like talk to another person… maybe even on the phone (gasp!).

Curfews are a big part of the teenage years – they help establish trust, independence, as well as supply comfort to the parents… but just as you wouldn’t let your kids stay out until 2 a.m. (especially on a school night) the same guidelines should be applied to their digital lives as well.

So set a tech curfew… just remember to adjust the time according to personal development and levels of earned trust. Kids need freedom, but they also need boundaries, so work together to come up with a time, and make sure that they have their say.

Then, at that agreed-upon time every night, take the technology out of their rooms. Yes, even their phones.

If they kick and scream, show them this article about the alarming trend of teens sleeping and texting. If the fear of sending an embarrassing text to their friend, their crush, or even worse – their friend’s crush – doesn’t work, I don’t know what will. Either way, with 97% of Americans aged 18-24 owning a phone, we’d better help the kids get their habits under control now… or we could be setting them up for some serious issues down the line.

For more on the importance of sleep, check out the following articles and resources:

Recent Articles:

New York Times: Lost Sleep can Add to Weight Gain

The Mash (section of The Chicago Tribune written by and for teens) : Screentime Before Bedtime

Simone N. Sneed: 5 Ways to Change the World in Your Sleep (this is a great one to share with the kids, as it usually leads to some interesting discussions about FOMO.)

Resources for Health Class:

Brain Pop: Tim and Moby talk about sleep.

HealthTeacher.com: What stops me from getting enough sleep?

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