Losing Teens to Technology
Sleep deprivation has become a major occurrence among teens from all over the world. At night, instead of getting homework or studying done, or going to bed, students will take the time to get involved with electronic devices into late hours of the night.
Sleep loss due to Technology
Increase in technology has risen drastically in the last couple of years. Teenagers have lost hours of sleep due to this phenomena because they will involve themselves in late-night conversations with their friends, will update their Facebook statuses/ check their notifications, or will take the time to comment and post pictures on Instagram.
Statistics have shown, based on the latest news and polls by The National Sleep Foundation that devices that are meant to make our lives easier actually make us sleepier and less equipped to handle things in our daily lives. Not only is technology causing sleep deprivation, but it also leads to lack of self esteem, lower grades and concentration in school, decrease in concentration when driving or crossing a street, and a risk of several health issues.
“Sleep is lost to technology when electronic devices continue to expose light late into the night affecting the hormone in the brain, melatonin, which tells the brain when it is time to sleep,” according to Russell Rosenberg, director The Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and Technology. “The other reason sleep is lost to technology is due to the excitement that is created when involved with the computer or cell phone.”
Speaking with Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) students, it is clear that students do not get more than six hours of sleep a night; causing a lack of focus in their daily school classes or an inability to stay awake in class.
“A lot of people lose sleep over technology. They don’t think about the consequences it might have when they are using their cell phone or going onto Facebook late at night,”says Kristen Nieto, a 17-year-old senior at FSSA. “They don’t think of what problems it will cause in the morning for them, whether it is falling asleep on the train or going to school half asleep. It will affect them in some way, not for the better but for the worst.”
Many students will leave their ringers on their cell phones on at night and be woken up throughout the night due to their cell phone going off. Others will be kept up by the television on at night.
The Negative Effects It Has on Teens
Sleep Deprivation can cause depression and lack of social skills; so why do teens use social sites late at night instead of going to sleep?
“There are nights when I have less than an hour of sleep. It is misery; it is definitely misery,” says Ezgi Cakirca, a senior at FSSA. “Half the time it’s not that I am even doing work, it’s just I’m on my phone. It’s sad, but it’s so true. I would come to school and I would be up on Starbucks Coffee, and that would be enough to last me through the whole day before I go home and I crash.”
Ezgi helped give insight on how terrible the situation has become. Not only does it affect sleep, but it also affects interaction with the outside world and limits your experiences. Ezgi adds that she went to Turkey over the summer and she was able to experience how beautiful and great it was, but that was only because her wifi was turned off. As soon as she got to her hotel and found out they had wifi, she checked into her phone and checked out of the experience of being in Turkey. She spent her time in Turkey on her phone. This is just one of the many examples of how teens are being limited by technology.
Overuse of technology has also led to failing grades in school. Students who started out as A students will go out and buy the newest version of the iPhone and start downloading apps, keeping them up and playing video games late into the night on their phone. These new technological devices provide so many different opportunities for games and texting and music that students put their homework aside and will put off sleeping to engage in these various activities. Of course, this affects them in school and lowers their ability to pay attention in their classes.
It Can Get Better
There is a way to fix this issue, though. If a parent takes away his or her child’s device at night, the child won’t be able to stay up all night on their phone. Of course, this doesn’t mean that students or teenagers won’t have sleep issues for other reasons, but at least technology won’t be one of them.
It’s best to avoid technology at night at all costs. Without technology, students would be more hyperactive, more involved, healthier, safer, and get more sleep. It would benefit them overall. This is a cry for help from the community to help teenage students to achieve more in their lives by getting more sleep and putting away the cell phone.
– by Jamie Lazan ’15