We all know that texting into the wee hours and checking Facebook when you should be sleeping is a bad idea for anyone. For teens, however, the combination is especially troublesome. The data reveals that 4 out of 5 teens sleep with their phone. One study even suggests that more than half of teens sleep on top of their phones!
It comes as no surprise that such habits interrupt with sleep, which can then lead to a series of physical, emotional and cognitive problems. (Teens still need between 9 and 10 hours of sleep a night.) But staying up all night texting with friends round the clock can also lead to a far subtler — and perhaps just as destructive —shift in teen behavior.
In an article by psychologist Suzanne Phillips, she discusses the balance of peer and parent influence over teens as they create their own identity. With the advent of 24/7 connectivity, that delicate balance can be thrown off when teens are constantly connecting with their peer group:
“Teens need the ongoing benefit of both parent and peer connections to enhance self-esteem and to formulate identity. According to research psychologist Wim Meeus (1995), both parents and peers have a strong influence in different situations – peers with leisure time, parents with school and career, mothers and peers with relationships.
It is the lack of balance – the inability to venture beyond parental connection or the absence of parental connection – that leaves a teen overly dependent and with limited resources for self-development.
Technology with its possibility of 24/7 connection by cell phone, deprives a teen of a separate parental and family domain. Whereas coming home could mean alternative connections, impressions, and experiences with family members, the 24/7 cell phone connection precludes this. It keeps a teen continually connected to peers but “out of ” the moment, place and relationships with parents and family.”