ADHD and Sleep in Teens

Teenagers already have such a tumultuous relationship with sleep due to the rapid changes that occur physically, mentally and behaviorally during this stage of development. When you consider those that are also dealing with the normal environmental stressors like school pressures and social media, while suffering with ADHD it is no wonder why one of the biggest issues parents complain about is sleep.

Although there is much debate about whether the sleep issues teens have are even more prevalent in teens with ADHD, we do know that with ADHD there are a lot of issues with settling down at bedtime that are not related to other co-existing conditions or sleep disorders.

Here are a few issues that can contribute more highly to those teens that suffer from ADHD:

Stimulants: Whether a teen is using more natural stimulants such as those that are found in caffeinated beverages or in herbal supplements or taking stimulant medications to help with the ADHD, these can directly impact the sleep cycles for kids. The intake of such beverages and supplements should not occur 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. It is always best to limit these items to the morning.

Resistance: Almost all kids have some level of bedtime resistance that is normal, but add in the issue with ADHD kids that may or may not be distractible and focused on various issues in life and there is often a higher level of resistance and struggle. Adding a relaxing bedtime ritual might be beneficial here.

Other Conditions: Often kids with ADHD have such a hard time with anxiety and depression because they aren’t typical or don’t quite fit in with peers that aren’t struggling quite as much. Being cautious to not over look any of these co-existing conditions can make the difference for sleep treatments as well.

 

Smartphones, Social Media and Teens: Benefits, Risks and Radiation?

Teens, across the nation and around the world, will be heading back to school soon. While teens were “relaxing” over the summer, researchers were doing their due diligence by continuing to explore the impact smartphones and social media have on teens.  Let’s take a look at what we know and explore some new information that might be helpful to teens, parents and educators.

What we’ve known for a while is that smartphones and social media have been linked to anxiety, depression, stress, lack of sleep, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts found in teens.  Teen anxiety and depression treatment centers have risen up in large numbers.  Longer hours on social media have been found to increase a teen’s risk of cyberbullying, lower self-esteem and may cause loss of valuable friend, family, and personal time.

While social media has benefits such as instant and often meaningful communication with family and peers, being constantly on has become a social media trap for many teens.  By increasing the time spent on measuring and managing their social media success on sites like Instagram and Snapchat, experts fear overuse may be adding risks to teen’s mental health.  Being constantly on, plugged in 24/7 – many teens never get a break.

Statistically, girls who spend several hours on their smartphones and social media each day tend to develop more social and emotional problems than boys.  Teen girls spend more time cultivating their online identity, comparing themselves to their peers and paying more attention to “likes.”  Teen boys tend to spend more time gaming and less time worrying about online identity.

Recently it was noted that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone.

We know that teens who are constantly on, keeping up with the latest apps, gaming, spending longer hours on social media, and wondering and worrying about how they measure up to their peers run the risk of higher than normal academic challenges and mental health issues.

Adult awareness to the many tactics used to get teens (and others) hooked to social media is the first step toward understanding and breaking the “constantly on” cycle.  Adults have, at their fingertips, bundles of research and studies as to the “why and how” teenagers get hooked, become addicted to social networking, and, as a consequence, have difficulty putting their smartphone and other devices aside.

The Latest…

When it comes to smartphones, social media and teens, it now appears there is more to consider.  In a recent article entitled, “Smartphones are killing teenagers’ memories, study says” by Chris Ciaccia, it was suggested and supported by the study referred to in the title, that radiation from smartphones is negatively impacting teenagers’ memories, leaving them with short-term memory loss. Perhaps now that more people are incorporating more organic living into so many aspects of their lives, they might also consider putting down their technology.

Reference:

https://www.swisstph.ch/en/news/news-detail/news/mobile-phone-radiation-may-affect-memory-performance-in-adolescents/

Social Media Challenges Are The New Dares

Dares have been around for a long time.  Accepting dares for any number of reasons, kids have been known to burn themselves with erasers, touch hot stove coils, and choke themselves. Common results were pain, scarring or worse. Social Media Challenges are the new dares

In many cases causing, irreparable damage to a person’s otherwise healthy body, Social Media Challenges are the latest in what’s being termed as stupid and dangerous internet fads.   Social Media Challenges such as the  Tide Pod ChallengeHot Coil Challenge and Deodorant Challenge take inflicting bodily harm to a new level.  In the news recently, first, second and even third degree burns are known to be the result of holding an arm, for as long as possible, on a red hot stove coil (Hot Coil Challenge) or spraying deodorant on someone, in the same spot, for as long as possible (Deodorant Challenge) for all the world to see!

Accepting the Deodorant Challenge, 3 young teenage girls suffered horrific burns, were hospitalized and now face skin grafts.  The Deodorant Challenge, also known as the aerosol challenge, has been around for a while.  A year ago, parents were warned about the Deodorant Challenge and advised to impress upon their children the dangers of burns of any type including those from pressurized gas within a deodorant can.

Summer is coming and with it the possibility of kids getting bored and, to fill the gap, spending hours and hours on social media.  Social Media Challenges may be tempting so before boredom sets in, talk to your child about the dangers of participating in Social Media Challenges.  Help your child understand that Social Media Challenges may damage or permanently scar a perfectly healthy body ~ for life!

Teens of Value Social Media

Knowing why teens value social media is just as important as understanding why teens are taking breaks from social media.  Behind teens and social media is purpose driven social media marketing.  Not unlike adults, teens desire to be relevant, be a part of a group or community and have value.  Unlike when their parents were growing up and had personal friend connections but often limited transportation or restrictions on time to be with those friends, teens today can hang out with their friends, all the time, 24/7, wherever they are! Social media has created a feeling of connectedness never experienced in human history.

Teens talk about their desires, personal issues, fears, and thoughts on social media.  But there is a downside to all of this connectedness ~ social media is also where cyberbullying and sexual exploitation of young people occur.  Sadly, many teens and younger children, who are being victimized, seldom tell their parents until it is too late.

Parents need to be present in their teen’s social media world while educators need to be vigilant in recognizing signs of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, poor sleep habits, eating disorders or body image issues in their students, which all may be related to the affects of social media.

Digital Addiction: Social Networking ~ A 24/7 Distraction

Addiction defined is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.

 In a recent article in the Boston Herald stating, “What began as a method of emergency contact has evolved into a 24/7 distraction, spurring what many would classify as a digital addiction for adults and teens alike,” underscores the need for parents, educators and entire communities to understand the implications for this and future generations. (“Teenagers, adults dangerously addicted to cellphones, says study,”by Lindsay Kalter, Monday, May 7. 2018)

Digital addiction begins in early childhood years when parents first put devices in kid’s hands to soothe or distract them.  Small children are known to throw tantrums or become depressed and anxious when devices are withheld.  We now know that what begins as an addiction early in life, can manifest itself into uncontrollable anger, anxiety, eating disorders and even suicide for teens, failing grades, shorter attention spans, distracted driving, conversations with complete strangers, likes for photos from thousands of people we don’t know, sleep loss, and deficient brain development.

A former Facebook VP, Chamath Palihapitiya, has said publicly that social media is destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops.’  He feels guilt over his role in promoting social networking in a way that it has eroded “the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”  He admits he and others knew something bad could happen with the development of the FB platform.  He also admits that he seldom uses social networks and does not allow his children to use them at all.

Questions parents and teachers should be asking:  How does social networking impact the students in your school or at home?  What, if any, steps have been taken to decrease the amount of time students are on their cell phones during school hours or at home?

Social Media Trolls ~ Purpose and Prevention

According to the report, “What is behind the spike in Russian social media activity?” shown in a news clip Monday, April 17, 2018, the Pentagon reported there has been a 2000% increase in Russian social media trolling since the US strike on Syria on Friday.

What does this mean and should the US and other countries be worried? In the interview, Morgan Wright, Sr Fellow for the Center of Digital Government stated that the UK, indeed, is on alert for another cyber attack, following closely on the heels of the malicious ransomware attack on their healthcare system.

Information warfare, as referenced in the discussion to the 2016 election, is not new nor is it without serious consequences.  Social media trolls are intent on creating doubt, deceit, manipulation and confusion.  These trolls rely on disinformation to start quarrels and upset people. They basically want to provoke readers into an emotionally charged, negative response.

The English noun, “troll” dates back to 1610 and comes from the Old Norse word meaning ugly giant or demon.  Equating ugly giants or demons to social media trolls, makes it easy to conjure up an image of a creature that inflames and wreaks havoc among normal, well meaning individuals.

There’s no escaping the internet trolls in a connected world however, protecting privacy online by understanding and utilizing privacy settings on personal social media accounts will go a long way toward warding off trolls.

Cyberbullying, often a result of disinformation, is an issue young teens face that can be countered with the cultivation of empathy.  Reconsidering messages before they are sent, rethinking aggressive behavior and encouraging bystanders to report abuse they witness, are just a few of the ways to cultivate a culture of empathy and decrease the number of social media trolls.

FERPA and Social Networking

School district personnel need to ask the question:  Is your use of social networking FERPA compliant?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.  The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.  You can read more about FERPA at their website.

There are things schools may disclose with or without consent of parents or eligible students but it is important to know the distinction.

Teens are heavy users of social networking and do not seem to be overly concerned about giving out sensitive personal information. Yet educators must be vigilant about releasing personal student data.

Nothing we do on the web is private.  Find out about what’s protected under FERPA. Share some scenarios or guidelines that will help facilitate discussion and understanding amongst colleagues and parents.

Impact of Social Media on Learning

Does social media impact learning?  Let’s look at the positive and negative impact of social media on learning.

Positive impact for learning ~ digital communication skills that need to be mastered including texting, tweeting, and Instagramming can be strengthened.  Students are more willing to complete assignments when they can use technology to research and share information, communicate or create ideas.

Using social media can foster collaborative community learning environments.  Students have options for creating authentic, creative work through blogs, YouTube, or podcasts – just to name a few.  It is yet to be seen whether or not social media can improve grades.

Negative impact for learning ~ Using social media can cause overstimulation and lack of focus, cyberbullying and plagiarism, distraction to the point of failure, poor decision-making leading to a negative digital footprint, and lack of adequate cyber security to protect students.  In addition, students unable to navigate platforms and operating systems find themselves at a disadvantage.

When it comes to students using social media, the impact on learning can be both positive and negative.

Facebook:10 Reasons To Spend Less Time

  1. Personal free time spent checking Facebook and other social media sites takes time that could be spent with someone in your real life.
  2. How do you define friends? The definition of friend has become fuzzy in our  social media world.  Facebook friends may like your posts but most won’t be available in real time or when you truly need it.
  3. Facebook and other social media can bring out the worst in people. From the safety of a computer, people feel entitled to judge, often bashing those that don’t agree with their views.
  4. Competing with friends gets old. You see your Facebook friends’ posts with amazing photos of events and activities.  You feel compelled to post something of your own to keep yourself relevant.  Before you know it, competing can be exhausting.
  5. Facebook uses your data. You wouldn’t publicize or share your private data with just anyone, so why allow  access to your information and sell it?
  6. The influence of fake news. Fake news articles posted and shared  may have influenced the outcome of the last presidential election. While we may not know if that is truly the case, we do know that it is one of the biggest sources of news today and voters read the fake content. Even with task forces trying to control it, fake stories and misinformation persists.
  7. Social manipulation. Facebook will suggest friends based on the friends you already have, pages you like or info you may share.  These may be subtle tactics to suggest broadening your network, but it is essentially social manipulation.
  8. Exposure to excessive advertising. It seems the ads on Facebook now outnumber posts from friends and family.  Why would you want to spend valuable time looking at advertisements telling you about a product you recently searched on Amazon last week or a retailer a Facebook “friend” likes?
  9. Protecting your digital reputation. What began as a fun way to share our lives with friends and family has become a hunting ground for colleges and companies as a way to background check and possibly eliminate, potential candidates.  Your digital reputation can be impacted every time you post or like something  and/or any time you are tagged.
  10. Increasing anxiety and depression. Research clearly shows that the more time you spend on Facebook and other social media, the more anxious and depressed you are likely to become.