Childhood statistics reveal that almost every child will have some sort of electronical device in their bedroom before they reach their teenage years. In fact, many parents reveal that most children indeed have many more than just the one electrical gadget displayed in their bedroom! From televisions to consoles, tablets to mobile phones, for some children there is relatively little need to even leave the confinements of their bedroom both after school and during the weekends.
Times Have Changed
Whilst many of us adults would have jumped at the chance, during our own childhood, to own and use as many gadgets as our children now have access to, the growing concern is how we monitor and decide when enough is enough. For gadgets that are dotted throughout the home, it is easier to monitor their use. When children go to bed, they simply don’t have access to them. However, the trend for children to fill their bedrooms with the latest technological devices every year, means the ability for children to switch off at bedtime is a whole new concern.
Night Time Electronics
Children will be children; which means when we shut that bedroom door to say goodnight, they aren’t always going to fall off to sleep straight away. As children ourselves, bedtime never always meant bedtime. Many a times would we resort to playing with the teddies on the bottom of our beds, the toy boxes stashed conveniently beneath the mattresses or perhaps some of us even read by torch light underneath the bed covers! Yet, can we expect our children now to do the same? Teddy’s, toy boxes and indeed books don’t quite have the same appeal as the TV at the bottom of their bed, the console immediately next to the TV, or the glow of the mobile phone connected to the latest social media app. It’s no surprise then that most children wake up feeling tired and agitated, and are consequently sitting through school like this, when they only managed a few hours’ sleep the night before.
Parental Intervention is Key
As parents, carers and guardians of children, we ultimately have the responsibility of ensuring our children are looked after. Yet, when it comes to the subject of technology and devices remaining in the room at night, we still seem divided in response. Many a time, a newspaper or magazine will run with the caption of My Child Doesn’t Sleep, and reading a few lines into the article will reveal the same reason time and time again; they repeatedly use a tablet or watch TV through out the night, resulting in a lack of sleeping pattern. Funnily enough, most parents wouldn’t dream of allowing their child to stay up each school night past midnight, but for some the concept of allowing them to remain in bed with an electronical device doesn’t seem to register the same scenario!
With so many parents flocking to sleep specialists, there seems to be one answer that remains the simplest solution to all of this, and yet is rarely discussed; remove all electronic devices from children’s rooms at night-time! The idea is so primitive and basic and yet remains ignored. Mobile phones can be handed in to parents before children climb into bed, as can hand-held gadgets. Consoles in the bedroom can be quickly set to ensure they aren’t able to work during bedtime hours, and children can even be barred from using the internet from the late evening to the early morning.
Using Technology Wisely
No one can doubt the progress technological advances allow us all to make in our everyday lives. As adults, we certainly take advantage of most gadgets that offer to make our lives that little bit easier. However, the one difference remains is many of us had a childhood without most of them. Whilst no one is saying our childhood was better for the lack of technology, we were certainly allowed to stop, unwind and disconnect from the problems of the world, whilst we got on with the important task of just being children. Technology can play a great part in our children’s life, and indeed it is certainly the way forwards, but what it cannot do is provide a good 8 hours sleep per night. That task is still yet to be conquered by any gadget!
As parents, until we learn to take back control and teach our children how to use technology wisely, this problem will continue to pervade our younger generation and those to come. If you feel your child is suffering from gadget overload in their room, perhaps now would be the time to look at offering a solution. Let us get back to making a child’s bedroom exactly that; a place to relax and sleep; a haven for children to escape to at the end of the day. Our children most certainly deserve it.