Screen Time Rules

People Share Rules for Screens and Sleep

Delaney Ruston, MD
October 28, 2019
Girl using phone in bed

Recently a group of eighth-graders was discussing Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER, and a few of them told the teacher how surprised they were to learn in the film that almost 40% of youth and teens with mobile devices in their room report that they wake up and check it at least once a night. *I like to keep stats to a minimum in my films, and I was happy these teens got the significance of this recent data.

A new study from a survey of 12,000 teens in the U.K. who were asked about their social media use and sleep found that teens who use social media longer than three hours a day were more likely to report going to bed after 11 pm and waking up during the night, as well.

Now, as you read this, I am sure many of you have kids or teens with devices in their room during bedtime, and I am sure many of you have fought to change that and felt defeated. I hear things from care providers, such as:

"I go to bed before my teens, so there is no way for me to make sure they turn them in, so I have given up."

"They sneak in screens, so why even try."

"They have to do homework late into the night, so why even have a rule about this?"

Do any of those sound familiar? Today it is all about answers.

I believe in an ideal world (and hopefully in the future), a system would be in place such that all tech that kids and teens use throughout the home, all of them, would automatically turn off at a particular time every school night. There would be no more asking our kids and teens, who are increasingly tired as the night goes on, to overcome the need/ urge/ desire to respond to people, check social media, play games, watch shows, scroll YouTube, etc. They would have finished any homework before the turn off time. Of course, in rare situations, they could request tech for a longer time.

Some homes do have tech set up to ensure tech goes off at night automatically. Here is a link to the ones we have listed on our RESOURCE page. The reality is that this takes work and patience to set up and maintain, and many people have not tried to set up something like this.

For this TTT, I want to hear from you what you do to ensure screens are out of the bedroom at night. Below are some responses to a question about this we posted on the Screenagers' Facebook Page (which also houses Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER):

Do your kids' and teens' devices come out of their rooms at bedtime? If so, what is the routine? Where do the phones, tablets, and computers go?

We have a docking station in the living room where all the phones go…. They stay docked until the morning. My boys are 11 and 14. —C. C

All of it charges in my room at night. We use Bark monitoring.—E. F.

School laptop stays in the dining room (homework zone) charging, phone stays on the kitchen counter charging, kindle can be in bedrooms because reading! —K. M.

We have a pretty strict no tech rule for kids bedrooms, only thing allowed are kindles and mini google home (that they use for music or alarms) Computers and laptops are in common areas. -- R.H.

Electronics are not allowed in their rooms. Cellphone from my teen goes to charge at 6:00 pm. and her laptop by 10 30 pm. Chrome books are charge and inside school backpacks by 8:00 pm for my 9 and 11-year-old. -- N.S.

Our 13 yo's iPad charges overnight in our room starting at 10. —M. M.

The devices never go in their rooms for starters. They charge in the kitchen and stay there unless they need it for researching something or we are, or they are going somewhere.— A.B.

We only have Kindles, and yes, once their screen time amount is used up, they go at the top of my closet. :) —S. W.

30 min before bedtime unless doing homework. They get charged overnight in the kitchen.—J. N.

My 9yr old's iPad is charged downstairs at night. My 9th grader's phone and iPad is in my room at night. —D. H.

All charged in the home office. No devices being charged in bedrooms.—G.A.

We set up a charging station in our kitchen. Our 14 yr old checks in her devices at 9 pm.—S.C.

We have one 14-year-old daughter who finally received an iPhone in August. iPhone & laptop go to mom & dads nightstand at bedtime (9:30).—L.H.

Mine are in H.S. They use the alarms, no phone in the bedrooms.—M.M.

Our 13 yo's DownTime starts at 9 pm on weekdays (which has been a lifesaver). He charges his phone and iPad on a shelf right outside of his room, and while he doesn't necessarily like it, he gets it, and having it close to him has made it easier. Admittedly, he is annoyed that we (his parents) aren't doing the same practice - we are going to reorganize our lives, so we'll do it too. —M.M.

We turn on screen time in the evenings, various times, so they can use phone for alarms. All apps are turned off. They don't like alarm clocks....too loud. L.F.

Yes, everything is turned off by 9 pm, unless needed for a paper for school. Then placed in my bedside table. My kids are 13 and almost 16.—E. B.

Charging station in the kitchen at 9:30 on school nights (kiddo is a soph. in H.S.) - if there's resistance, the next night it's 9:00.—A.M.

We just have Kindle's and Echo Dots (still young- 12 and 10) Echo's are programmed to stop playing at 8:30 and kindles are on the family charger by 8:30. I check the kindles a few times a week, too, to monitor videos, apps, etc.—T. F.

We have a charging station on the main floor and at the end of the day, all devices (including parents) are docked to charge for the next day. We use old fashioned alarm clocks to get up for school/work.—E. F.

At night, it's placed on the kitchen counter with the other phones (my husband and I leave them there as well). We have a service that monitors his activity, and he cannot even use the phone between 9 pm and 7 am.—E.F.

Everything in the office. It's charged overnight and ready for the next day. No matter how much they complain, it's the rule. WiFi is off at 8 pm and 9 pm. 1 hour before bedtime for younger and older kid—J.R.

We have them plug it into our master bedroom around 8:30-9:15 when we remember on school nights. —W.A.

One question we get often is about how to navigate situations where the kids listen to music, a meditation app, or podcast to fall asleep.

Here are a few thoughts on that question. I would first consider seeing if they might try a few nights without it. Things can shift, and they may not need it—which is great because the less reliant on a sound or other aid, the better. For example, if they go to camp or spend the night at friends and can't have music, this can cause anxious feelings. But if you want to allow music or audiobooks for them to fall asleep, consider running them off a device placed in another room but connected by Bluetooth.

Here are a few questions to get the conversation started about devices during sleep time.

  1. What time do you think is a reasonable time to turn off all electronic devices?
  2. What is the #1 reason you want your devices in your bedroom at night when you sleep?
  3. Where would you suggest devices go at night if they are not in the bedroom?
  4. When devices are in your bedroom at night, do you check them some time in the middle of the night?

If you want to host a screening of the movie in your community, please fill out this form.

Take a look here to see if there’s a screening near you.

*We would love for you to share this TTT any way that works for you, whether that’s on social media or via a newsletter. If you want to send it out in your newsletter we just ask that you credit us and link to our website, and let us know at lisa@screenagersmovie.com.

Do you organize professional development in schools? We now have a 6-hour, 3-part training module. Request more information here Professional Development.

Stay in touch with the Screenagers community on Facebook, Twitter and leave comments below.


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Screen Time Rules

People Share Rules for Screens and Sleep

Delaney Ruston, MD
October 28, 2019
Girl using phone in bed

Recently a group of eighth-graders was discussing Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER, and a few of them told the teacher how surprised they were to learn in the film that almost 40% of youth and teens with mobile devices in their room report that they wake up and check it at least once a night. *I like to keep stats to a minimum in my films, and I was happy these teens got the significance of this recent data.

A new study from a survey of 12,000 teens in the U.K. who were asked about their social media use and sleep found that teens who use social media longer than three hours a day were more likely to report going to bed after 11 pm and waking up during the night, as well.

Now, as you read this, I am sure many of you have kids or teens with devices in their room during bedtime, and I am sure many of you have fought to change that and felt defeated. I hear things from care providers, such as:

"I go to bed before my teens, so there is no way for me to make sure they turn them in, so I have given up."

"They sneak in screens, so why even try."

"They have to do homework late into the night, so why even have a rule about this?"

Do any of those sound familiar? Today it is all about answers.

I believe in an ideal world (and hopefully in the future), a system would be in place such that all tech that kids and teens use throughout the home, all of them, would automatically turn off at a particular time every school night. There would be no more asking our kids and teens, who are increasingly tired as the night goes on, to overcome the need/ urge/ desire to respond to people, check social media, play games, watch shows, scroll YouTube, etc. They would have finished any homework before the turn off time. Of course, in rare situations, they could request tech for a longer time.

Some homes do have tech set up to ensure tech goes off at night automatically. Here is a link to the ones we have listed on our RESOURCE page. The reality is that this takes work and patience to set up and maintain, and many people have not tried to set up something like this.

For this TTT, I want to hear from you what you do to ensure screens are out of the bedroom at night. Below are some responses to a question about this we posted on the Screenagers' Facebook Page (which also houses Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER):

Do your kids' and teens' devices come out of their rooms at bedtime? If so, what is the routine? Where do the phones, tablets, and computers go?

We have a docking station in the living room where all the phones go…. They stay docked until the morning. My boys are 11 and 14. —C. C

All of it charges in my room at night. We use Bark monitoring.—E. F.

School laptop stays in the dining room (homework zone) charging, phone stays on the kitchen counter charging, kindle can be in bedrooms because reading! —K. M.

We have a pretty strict no tech rule for kids bedrooms, only thing allowed are kindles and mini google home (that they use for music or alarms) Computers and laptops are in common areas. -- R.H.

Electronics are not allowed in their rooms. Cellphone from my teen goes to charge at 6:00 pm. and her laptop by 10 30 pm. Chrome books are charge and inside school backpacks by 8:00 pm for my 9 and 11-year-old. -- N.S.

Our 13 yo's iPad charges overnight in our room starting at 10. —M. M.

The devices never go in their rooms for starters. They charge in the kitchen and stay there unless they need it for researching something or we are, or they are going somewhere.— A.B.

We only have Kindles, and yes, once their screen time amount is used up, they go at the top of my closet. :) —S. W.

30 min before bedtime unless doing homework. They get charged overnight in the kitchen.—J. N.

My 9yr old's iPad is charged downstairs at night. My 9th grader's phone and iPad is in my room at night. —D. H.

All charged in the home office. No devices being charged in bedrooms.—G.A.

We set up a charging station in our kitchen. Our 14 yr old checks in her devices at 9 pm.—S.C.

We have one 14-year-old daughter who finally received an iPhone in August. iPhone & laptop go to mom & dads nightstand at bedtime (9:30).—L.H.

Mine are in H.S. They use the alarms, no phone in the bedrooms.—M.M.

Our 13 yo's DownTime starts at 9 pm on weekdays (which has been a lifesaver). He charges his phone and iPad on a shelf right outside of his room, and while he doesn't necessarily like it, he gets it, and having it close to him has made it easier. Admittedly, he is annoyed that we (his parents) aren't doing the same practice - we are going to reorganize our lives, so we'll do it too. —M.M.

We turn on screen time in the evenings, various times, so they can use phone for alarms. All apps are turned off. They don't like alarm clocks....too loud. L.F.

Yes, everything is turned off by 9 pm, unless needed for a paper for school. Then placed in my bedside table. My kids are 13 and almost 16.—E. B.

Charging station in the kitchen at 9:30 on school nights (kiddo is a soph. in H.S.) - if there's resistance, the next night it's 9:00.—A.M.

We just have Kindle's and Echo Dots (still young- 12 and 10) Echo's are programmed to stop playing at 8:30 and kindles are on the family charger by 8:30. I check the kindles a few times a week, too, to monitor videos, apps, etc.—T. F.

We have a charging station on the main floor and at the end of the day, all devices (including parents) are docked to charge for the next day. We use old fashioned alarm clocks to get up for school/work.—E. F.

At night, it's placed on the kitchen counter with the other phones (my husband and I leave them there as well). We have a service that monitors his activity, and he cannot even use the phone between 9 pm and 7 am.—E.F.

Everything in the office. It's charged overnight and ready for the next day. No matter how much they complain, it's the rule. WiFi is off at 8 pm and 9 pm. 1 hour before bedtime for younger and older kid—J.R.

We have them plug it into our master bedroom around 8:30-9:15 when we remember on school nights. —W.A.

One question we get often is about how to navigate situations where the kids listen to music, a meditation app, or podcast to fall asleep.

Here are a few thoughts on that question. I would first consider seeing if they might try a few nights without it. Things can shift, and they may not need it—which is great because the less reliant on a sound or other aid, the better. For example, if they go to camp or spend the night at friends and can't have music, this can cause anxious feelings. But if you want to allow music or audiobooks for them to fall asleep, consider running them off a device placed in another room but connected by Bluetooth.

Here are a few questions to get the conversation started about devices during sleep time.

  1. What time do you think is a reasonable time to turn off all electronic devices?
  2. What is the #1 reason you want your devices in your bedroom at night when you sleep?
  3. Where would you suggest devices go at night if they are not in the bedroom?
  4. When devices are in your bedroom at night, do you check them some time in the middle of the night?

If you want to host a screening of the movie in your community, please fill out this form.

Take a look here to see if there’s a screening near you.

*We would love for you to share this TTT any way that works for you, whether that’s on social media or via a newsletter. If you want to send it out in your newsletter we just ask that you credit us and link to our website, and let us know at lisa@screenagersmovie.com.

Do you organize professional development in schools? We now have a 6-hour, 3-part training module. Request more information here Professional Development.

Stay in touch with the Screenagers community on Facebook, Twitter and leave comments below.


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