The incredible sleep deprived, multi-tasking techno teens....

Posted by on 02 June, 2009

How fast are YOU texting now??

As a woman I had previously thought the multi-tasking domain was mine alone. Well I have to put my cap between my legs and hand the multitasking baton over to my sons.

It is nothing short of incredible what they can do. They can watch Rove on the TV and Youtube videos and Facebook on their laptops, while sending off innumerable text messages and listening to the latest music  they’ve downloaded to iTunes. All while studying for a maths exam the next day.

And if I tiptoe downstairs at 11:30pm at night there are telltale signs they’re still at it; a thin light from below the door, the sound of a muffled voice or the beep beep of an incoming text.

Well, it turns out my kids are not unique in this multitasking talent. A new study out of the US (which you can find here; http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/123/6/e1005 found that this phenomenon is unbelievably common!

But wait there’s more. All this techno multitasking is evidently more appealing to most teens than sleep. So what’s the obvious antidote to a slow day after a night of texting and typing? Caffeine! That’s right! Red Bull and their ilk are coming to the rescue of exhausted teens all over the world. The study result was clear- the more serious the multitasking, the more caffeine consumed and the less sleep at night obtained.

So there you go- zombifying TV is no longer the teen bogeyman. Instead today’s teenaged multi-taskers are caffeine dependent and sleep deprived. We already know teenagers need 9 hours sleep but most are getting closer to 7. The effect? Poor grades, grumpy, snappy kids who crash through the school day. Excellent.

The experts have made an unequivocal recommendation; get rid of the techno from the kids’ rooms. No internet, no mobile phone… bed time is for sleeping. I’ll add don’t buy your teens caffeine-loaded drinks. What they do with their money after school and on the weekends is (let's face it) beyond your control, but don’t get in on the act! I’m about to put all this into practice. Wish me luck.