What are your teenagers up to after lights out?

As end of year exams hit I think it’s worth parents taking the time to talk with their teenagers and do a reality check of what is really going on after lights out?

I get that it can be hard to police device use 24/7, unless you are using cyber safety solution like Family Zone to assist technology management in your home.

However, perhaps these statistics from a recent survey carried out by Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, might convince you to at least give the topic an airing in your home.

A survey of 2,750 11 to 18 year olds found (45%) almost half, of young people are checking their mobile phones after they have gone to bed.

In addition one in ten teens admitted to checking their mobile phones for notification at least 10 times a night.

Of the 45% of survey respondents who check their phones when they should be sleeping, almost all (94%) are on social media – with a tenth saying they would feel stressed about missing out if they did not check their device before going to sleep.

Of this group, 75% are listening to music and over half (57%) are watching films.

A third (32%) of these youngsters say their parents are not aware that they check their mobile device after going to bed.

The scary part is the kids actually know their night time habits are having a negative impact on their life, with 68% of all respondents saying using their mobile devices at night affects their school work.

A quarter say they feel tired during the day because of how often they use their mobile device at night and almost half (42%) keep their phone next to their bed at night.

With mobile phone and device usage in Australia reaching unprecedented highs with in excess of 15.3 million Australians owning a smart phone and 12 million owning a tablet device, this is not an issue that we as parents can ignore.

So what do we do about it? Firstly I strongly encourage that you take the time to check in with your kids and have an open and frank conversation about these statistics and the dangers these habits present.

In addition the tips from the experts recommend that the most important rules or habits to form and encourage in your home with your teenager include:-

• Refraining from using screens 90 minutes before bedtime

• Turning off notifications

• Activating “do not disturb”, “aeroplane mode” or mute settings or turning the phone off altogether if you can

• Reduce blue light exposure, which can disrupt sleep. For example, most Apple devices have the “night shift mode”, which changes the colour temperature of your device to reduce exposure

• Try and break the habit of unprompted device checking

• Ensure your kids keep their phone in a location that prevents you from seeing, hearing or even reaching for it

• Encourage a “Digital Detox” – take a break from devices altogether or set times that you and your kids will turn your phones off

• Switch the habit – in the 90 minutes running up to bedtime, encourage the good old fashion concept of reading a good book, practicing meditation or having a relaxing bubble bath.

Sometime we just need to get our kids to think about the reasons as to why they are using mobile devices at night time?  Because when they actually stop and think about it they too realise that these habits often don’t make sense.

Cyber Mum



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