PLC Perth Principal, Dr Kate Hadwen, is encouraging parents of young people to remove communication devices from their children’s rooms at night time in an effort to combat negative effects such as poor sleep, impaired cognitive performance and an increase in depression and anxiety.
“There is a growing body of evidence linking technology use late at night and negative mental health outcomes for young people,” Dr Hadwen said.
A recent study by the Australian Research Council of 1,100 students, indicates that 75 percent of Year 8s, and 78 percent of Year 11s, are using their phones well into the night.
Sleep disorders for children under 14 have tripled over the past ten years and in 2015, Glasgow University’s study of social media usage found that engaging with social media at night damages sleep and increases depression and anxiety.
In addition, researchers have found that sleep deprivation of just an hour per night on a regular basis may reduce academic cognitive performance by up to two full years.
Dr Hadwen suggests parents remove phones and tablets before bedtime along with introducing other simple rules such as completing all chores and homework before going online, no TV in the bedroom and banning technology at meal times.
“As a community, I have encouraged PLC families to commit to collecting the technology off our children at bed time, at least for students in Pre-Kindergarten to Year 11.”
“The evidence against technology use at night time for teens and young children is very compelling. If we all committed to a bed-time ban on technology, imagine the impact we could have on our community.” Dr Hadwen said.
Knowing that a lot of children use their mobile phones at night time for an alarm clock, the School has purchased alarm clocks that will be given to all students who pledge to willingly hand in their technology at night. So far over 175 girls have collected their alarm clocks.
“So far the feedback from parents has been really positive, which has told me that I am right, I’m not the only one who feels that this is a challenge.”
Dr Hadwen recently appeared on Channel 9 News Perth, talking about the use of technology at bedtime. Watch the video below.
Dr Hadwen also spoke to The West Australian and appeared on Sunrise speaking on the issue.