Apparently, many teenagers are checking their mobile phones several times in the night, and replying to tweets and messages.
Teenagers need plenty of sleep. Their brains are not yet mature, physical changes are taking place which take energy, and emotional adjustments are ongoing. For health, these require the individual to sleep and rest at night.
Keeping up with the current ‘thread’ on shared texting or tweets is putting excessive pressure on a lot of teenagers’ time, affecting their concentration and sleep. For many, insecurities are magnified and they fear they will soon be ‘out of the loop’, feeling unwanted and ostracised.
Now we all know the virtual world is becoming increasingly important to a lot of teenagers. In many ways it is easier to claim 456 ‘friends’ on Facebook and such like, when face to face reality is very different.
Making a true, actual friend takes time, opportunity, shared interests and activities, give and take, honesty, understanding, tolerance, like mindedness, same moral values – to name but a few. If anyone has a dozen or so true friends at the end of a long life then they are fortunate.
But, there are adults called ‘parents’! These are people who are responsible for the care and well being of their children until they are considered ‘adult’.
So, why do teenagers have their mobile phones in their bedrooms at night, if they cannot be trusted and relied upon to switch them off during hours needed for sleep? Why can they not tell their ‘friends’ that they are tired and need to sleep?
Why do parents allow this to happen and, in my view, renege on their duty of care at a vulnerable time of their children’s lives, when peer pressure is paramount.
I gave my teenage children an ‘opt out’ for whenever necessary. I told them to say ‘my Mum won’t let me’! I didn’t mind what anyone of their companions or classmates thought of me, as long as my children did not feel pressured to conform, do something, go somewhere, when they didn’t want to. Even if it was never used, the option was there.
I was young at a time with no drugs, when alcohol could not be bought by teenagers, and there was no available contraception other than back street abortion. The behaviour of most teenagers mirrored these ‘restrictions’. I say ‘restrictions’ as that is how they could be seen in the present day, but, in fact, we were much freer. Why? Because there were no expectations from peers re. drinking, drugs or sex. No mobile phones, no internet – so no cyberbullying, no facetime, no online demands for time, or dangers etc. Of course, people existed to exploit innocents then as now, but at least some of the common dangers of today did not exist.
I am a technophile, but with good things, there are always people ready to ruin and degrade, and take advantage of weaknesses.
Teenagers are vulnerable, however they would disagree, and need parental support and guidelines.
Parents must build up trust, respect, obedience as necessary, and love in early childhood.. That takes a lot of consistency, time, effort and communication. Miss that opportunity, and how can parents expect to be listened to by their teenagers or have their teenagers understand any sensible controls?
The horse may well have already bolted!
Parents – a suggestion. Put your teenager’s phones ‘on charge’ overnight in your own bedroom – with the notifications and sounds OFF.
Maybe I’m old fashioned, but in my opinion, it is called ‘caring’.