Students Losing Sleep to Texting

mobile1We all know that teens are on a different time schedule than most of us. They go to sleep late and wake up late. It’s the science of their internal clocks that has rescheduled many high school openings and class times. They learn better when they’re not sleeping in class.

Looks like 75% of teens, 12 to 17-year olds, text. Furthermore, a larger number, 97%, of 18-29 use cell phones to text, according to Pew Research findings (2011). Add to that the recent findings (2013) by Karla Klein Murdock, Ph.D. in her research with technology use on adolescent and health effects at Washington and Lee University. Her study shares that freshman students surveyed felt obligated to immediately answer texts received, even at the expense of losing sleep. The sound of a text coming in was a wake-up call to send a return. While we’d love young people to be that responsive, the time for doing that shouldn’t be at bedtime.

If texting is that important a personal and group connection device with young people, their friends—individual and societal status, it doesn’t take a giant stretch to wonder if adults in the work place are losing sleep to texting as well. Most of us have probably climbed out of the warm covers and stubbed a few toes while shuffling in the dark to check e-mails or texts. The result of that checking was either reading something of little importance, or something that had you worried enough to take care of immediately. Later, you may have wondered, as you restlessly tossed and turned, if all of it could have waited until morning.

While it’s probably much more difficult in a dorm room, placing your smartphone somewhere well away from where you sleep is probably a good idea. So there’s no way of hearing texts coming in at all would be best. It really is a matter of taking control back, if you’re mature enough to do it.

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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