Do your children seem more moody, irritable or depressed than usual? Don't blame it all on adolescent angst. The cause may not be physical or mental, but electronic. Not so long ago, such behavior was blamed on sleep deprivation caused by violent TV shows or stimulating video games before bedtime.
Now new villains have raised there heads in the form of email and texting. Researcher Dr. Peter G. Polos at the JFK Medical Center sleep lab in Edison N.J. believes that the availability of this electronic media has an impact on hours and quality of sleep. Although boys may still be hooked on surfing and video games, girls tend more to email and text messaging. Dr. Polos believes that emailing and texting may be more stimulating than television.
To add to the problem, if kids are using lap tops or other electronic devices in the privacy of their bedrooms at night, it's difficult for parents to monitor what they are viewing or where they are surfing. They could be viewing porno sites, online shopping or downloading costly P2P files.
The survey found that kids often fell asleep with their cell phones by their heads, and awakened when the next message arrived. Earlier research revealed that over three quarters of the teen-age population have cell phones and many send more than 3,000 texts per month.
The Sleep doctor (Michael J. Breus, M.D.) that all this emailing and texting leads to:
- Problems falling asleep
- Have trouble staying asleep, many being awakened by incoming calls
- Experience daytime mood, behavior and cognitive problems
So what can parents do to combat the problem?
- Ban electronic devices for at least an hour before bedtime
- Prohibit the use of cell phones or laptops in the bedroom
- If necessary, confiscate all such devices to prevent after hours use.
Published On: November 28, 2010