Tired Texters

Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 9:30am

Social networking gadgets make for sleepy students as schools reopen.

Today's kids live in a 24/7 electronic world.

Cellphones, texting, social networking and computers don't leave much time for much needed sleep.

"It's necessary to disengage, that means turning off the electronics, doing a little bit of wind down to transition your body into sleep mode," says Center For Sleep and Weight Disorders director Dr. Helene Emsellem.

High school senior Alex Elich admits she stays awake texting friends late night.

"Text them now and actually have a social life, or go to bed and be a loser," she laughs.

The numbers might surprise you.

75 percent of 12-to-17-year-olds have cellphones.

77 percent of 17-year-olds text their friends daily and just 34 percent communicate with their friends face to face.

Many educators believe after-hours social networking leaves many students too tired to concentrate in the classroom.

"The occasional 'I'm up late' incident is not a big issue, but students are really getting sleep deprived night after night," says high school principal Steve McWilliams.

Sleep experts recommend a "lights-out" time for both students, and their gadgets.

Four out of five teenagers surveyed say they sleep with their cell phones on, either in or right next to the bed.

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