At one time, not that many years ago, it was an exciting luxury for a teen to have an ordinary home phone extension in their room. Now, many teens go to sleep with their own personal smartphone on the nightstand right next to their beds. But is that really a good idea? Parents used to worry that a child with a home phone extension in their room would stay up too late at night chatting with friends – with a smartphone, your teen has access to not only their friends, but the entire internet. Here are some reasons it may be time to ban the smartphone from the bedroom.
A Disrupted Sleep Cycle
It comes as no surprise that late-night browsing sessions on the phone can keep your teen from getting enough sleep. But a few minutes of checking texts or surfing the web before going to sleep can’t hurt, right? Well, as it turns out, it can.
Using a smartphone for a few minutes before bed isn’t the same as finishing a chapter in a book you’re reading before bed. Current research suggests that the light from a smartphone can interfere with the brain’s ability to release melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle. Even just a few minutes of smartphone use after lights-out can result in lower sleep quality after the phone is put down. And it’s not easy to just make up the sleep the next night either. Once your sleep cycle has been disrupted, you can have trouble sleeping for some time, until the cycle is regulated again.
When your teenager has trouble sleeping at night, they will have trouble paying attention in school the next day. Lack of sleep can make it difficult to focus, and that means that they won’t be paying the attention that they should in the classroom.
If your child’s entire sleep cycle is disrupted, they will have more than just one bad day at school. They may even start to display ADHD-like symptoms. They also may not have the energy to put their best effort into schoolwork, tests, and projects. Poor sleep because of smartphone use at bed time could lead to serious academic trouble for your teen.
Poor sleep quality affects more than just your child’s ability to focus. It can also affect their immune system, leaving them more susceptible to illness than they normally would be. Your teen may be more likely to develop anything from a common cold to a more serious illness when they’re suffering from sleep deprivation.
Lack of sleep can also lead your teen into some unhealthy behaviors. If your teen is tired during the day, they may turn to coffee, sodas, or energy drinks to help get them through the day, creating a caffeine dependency. Others reach for sugar to boost their energy, leading to an unhealthy diet and unhelpful sugar crashes later in the day.
These problems don’t stem from too much smartphone use, just from using smartphones at the wrong time. That’s why it’s important for you to know not just how much your teen is using their phone, but when they’re using it, so that you can set rules that protect your teen’s health and well-being. Parental monitoring software can help you monitor your child’s habits and establish rules. To find out how it works, get our free trial.