Oh the joys of being a parent in the digital age!
When we were teens, our parents only had to worry about whether to implement a curfew for us to arrive home from nights out with friends. Now, as parents of teens, there is a debate over whether to give a “technology curfew.” Should you force your teenager to power down electronics at a certain time of night?
At the gym this morning, a few moms got to talking about our weekends. One mom confessed she spent the whole weekend battling with her son over how much he plays Xbox. At 1:30 in the morning, she insisted he get off Xbox and go to bed. But he said the phrase most mothers know well. “Okay mom, in a minute.” The mom said finally, her husband used some app on his phone to disable the Xbox. (That sounded really cool to me!)
Of course, her son was mid-game and went crazy. She said he spent the next hour yelling and trying to restore the game. ( I can just picture what that looks like, can you?)
“I don’t mind my son unwinding on the weekends, but when he stays up late, he ‘s grumpy the next day or wants to sleep to noon and half the weekend is gone,” the mom said.
Another mom who was part of the conversation said her 13-year-old daughter was up at 1:30 a.m. over the weekend on the House Party app on her phone, talking to a bunch of friends. This mother also had battled with her daughter about powering down and going to bed.
I can relate to these moms. Sometimes late at night, I think my son is sleeping and I hear noise. “What the heck is going on? “I ask myself. When I go into his room, I find him watching videos on his Instagram feed and cracking up. “Go to bed,” I say, and what do you think the response is? “In a minute mom.”
Sure, our kids need chill time, and since they find electronics their entertainment, I’m all for letting them use their phones for video games or to join a “House Party.” I get that their social lives today revolve around electronics.
Still, I understand the frustrations of these gym moms. I have gone to bed many times with a hoard of boys gathered around the TV in the playroom screaming at the characters on the screen in their video game. And yes, I have contemplated implementing an electronics curfew.
According to The Seattle Times, our teenagers may need our help powering down. Self-control is not fully developed in teen brains, so it can be hard for teenagers to voluntarily turn off a video game or close out of Instagram, the article said. One expert said giving teenagers smartphones without any restrictions is like offering them an unlimited supply of Häagen Dazs ice cream and telling them not to eat too much.
A typical “technology curfew” requires teens to put on their phones on chargers in their parents’ rooms or kitchens at 9 or 10 p.m. to prevent them from losing sleep to late night text conversations or videos.
So, if any of you have tried a technology curfew, how did it work out? What do you think is a reasonable time for electronics to be shut down, and does it differ on weeknights and weekends?