I came across this news story over on Yahoo just a little bit ago. I have posted it in the Current Events forum as well.

Are these people who study teens a broken record or what? Teens don’t get enough sleep. Teens aren’t taking good enough care of themselves. It goes on and on. And I’m rather tired of sounding like a broken record with the constant “But you never pay attention to this when it comes to adults!”

Although, I concede that isn’t always true. The population in general gets the finger pointed at them that they aren’t eating right or sleeping right or breathing right or whatever. What we have here in this article is the journalist’s valuable mixture of public health hysteria and teen concerns, both a surefire attention grabber and method to scare people into believing their cockamamie stories.

While, yes, there are so many other comments I could make about this article, such as how they repeatedly refer to 17-year-olds as children or how they explicitly support parents forbidding TV or Internet to teens within hours of ideal bed time or how they think that these electronics could not possibly have a relaxing use (a third valuable journalism tool, fear of video games and other forms of modern entertainment), I really just must ask one outward question.

How much more of this, whether as youth rights activists or as society in general, are we going to take?


  1. I agree with you, Kat. I don’t see how restricting access to electronics after a certain point are going to help most people get more sleep. A lot of people depend on those things to HELP them get to sleep.

  2. This article doesn’t talk much about *why* people might drink caffeine (to *avoid* falling asleep in class, &c.) or *why* they might “drive drowsy” (otherwise they’d “get to school late or miss school because they overslept”). It does make a lot of sense, though, to have school later, considering how many more people are night owls than early birds.
    How many teenagers don’t get enough sleep because they have jobs? too much homework? extracurricular activities? You can’t keep telling people they need to be competitive and then complain about the symptoms of pumping their resumes.
    Interesting actually reading parts of the finished study (http://www.sleepfoundation.org/hottopics/index.php?secid=16&id=392)–they asked the adolescents if they thought they have or may have a sleep problem, but their caretakers if they thought that the adolescents did (two different questions), then compared them. And for the “driving drowsy” questions, “The findings from this study mirror those of the NSF 2005 Sleep in America poll, which was among a random sample of adults.” *That* wasn’t in the article.
    On page 10 of the summary of findings, it compares different sleep-related times across grade levels; schools starts progressively earier.
    I have an electronic music devices, Internet access (wireless) and a cell phone, but no “television, electronic/video games… a telephone, a computer”. Then again, my usual reason for staying up late is to watch Numb3rs (non-school night) or do homework. And I nap a lot. So maybe I’m just different.

  3. Katrina I agreee that the media scrutinizes teens far too much, but I think they have a legitimate concern here. Teens need far more sleep than adults or children do.

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