Sharon McCutcheon

There is much to write about when it comes to the plethora of reading this week.  However, there is one topic that really resonates with me, that I want to expand on.  The reading Children in a Digital World points out the fact that youth, aged 15-24, are the most connected age group in the world.  This is not surprising at all, as these Digital Natives, have grown up constantly connected. The report also spoke to the phenomena of children being left alone with digital devices in their bedrooms, even overnight. The report states: “Smartphones are fuelling a ‘bedroom culture’, with online access for many children becoming more personal, more private and less supervised”. It still surprises me that many children are left alone in their rooms with digital devices.

Boudewijn Huysmans

This infographic from Common Sense Media on Teen Social Media Experiences had some statistics to further my point.  57% of teens stated they were distracted by a mobile device when they should be doing homework, and 29% said that they have been woken up by their smartphone.  When we look at the full report from Common Sense Media on Teen Social Media Experiences it contains some other powerful statistics, 37% of teens stated they were on the mobile devices when they were supposed to be doing homework, and 26% stated that their devices impeded their sleep.

Taken from Common Sense Media

We can’t assume that teens are going to make good decisions around having screens in their bedrooms, and making positive assumptions around this can be dangerous. Like any other life skill that we work with teens on, this is something that needs to be addressed with our kids and revisited frequently.  The challenge for many parents and teachers alike, is that we grew up with a totally different experience and thus have nothing to fall back on. It is really important that we read research and keep ourselves informed. Here are a couple of great resources to start the conversation:

Should bedrooms be No Phone Zones for Teens

Teenagers’ sleep quality and mental health at risk over late-night mobile phone use.

I recently was passed this article from a friend that I think really drove home the point as to why teens need to check their phone in at night, entitled “Our Daughter’s Nightly Struggle”. Beyond the lack of sleep, this article points out to other pressures are kids might be dealing with that we don’t know about.

We know our kids are more wired than ever before. We also know that being connected is highly important to them as individuals, and to their success in social circles and relationships.  As adults we have a responsibility to teens to guide them through making smart decisions around their use of tech. We need to open up the dialogue.

4 thoughts on “Open Dialogue is the Key

  1. Here is one of many articles about the “digital native” myth( I think you might enjoy reading it. Basically, the idea that these digital natives are somehow naturally adept at using technology is a fallacy. They still have to be taught how to use technology as a tool to enhance learning, create, and collaborate. Otherwise, they are just passive information consumers.
    And, here’s an article( about the myth of multitasking too.

    I really enjoy reading about your learning.


    1. Hi Lori! I cannot agree more, our kids are digital natives in the sense of being born into it, but not in terms of having this birthright of technological expertise. It is still up to caring adults to guide and teach them about responsible use of technology!


  2. Ryan,

    Interesting read. For so long, I’ve encouraged parents to have their children complete school work in a public place in their house and then retire to their rooms for socializing (online).

    It does make me wonder about their future sleep quality as influenced by cyberbullying, pornography access and other unsupervised browsing in the digital realm.

    -Gary J


    1. Hey Gary, great to hear you chime in! As we both have kids entering the pre-teen years, I know this is a topic that weighs on both of us. I have been thinking more and more about screen time, appropriate amounts of it, and where kids should be using their devices. One thing I do know, is that quality sleep is a necessity for kids at any age, so anything we can do to eliminate or decrease distractions is a must.


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