Can texting keep teens from sleeping?

Digital technology enables instant communication whenever and wherever you want. The question is: Are teens mature enough and aware enough to know when to turn it off. The digital world of communication does pose risks, and teens are not always aware of the potential physical and emotional hazards of the technologies they take for granted. Teens text, talk on their cell phone, surf the Internet, chat and play games online as a means of communication and social interaction.

Many teens continue to text one another even after the lights are out. Texting is one way of filling the seemingly obsessive need many teenagers have to stay connected 24/7. Teens go to bed, but their cell phone stays near their bed, so any message they receive wakes them from their sleep, and then of course they have to answer. In the long run, this kind of night time interference can lead to sleep deprivation and fatigue that affects daily activities. It can cause anxiety, depression, and even cognitive and learning problems. Texting at night stimulates the brain, and the artificial light from the screen suppresses melatonin, the sleep hormone, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

Texting can lead to other problems in addition to the problems related to lack of sleep. There are also physical consequences from the overuse of hands and fingers. The position of the body while texting is similar to sitting in front of the computer; the shoulders are held still while the fingers move quickly. Teens may suffer from numbness, tingling, sore fingers and pain from overuse. The long-term health effects are as yet unclear, but overdoing texting may cause more health risks, such as stress-related injuries and fatigue, than teens or their parents realize.




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