What is vamping you ask? Well it could be referring to ‘the repeated use of a phrase throughout an entire song’, or ’To patch up a shoe or a boot’ or as is becoming more common with so many today, it can refer to ‘staying up all night on devices, playing games, watching videos or hanging out on social media whilst everyone else in the house is fast asleep’. In the the vein of all things Twilight, True blood and The Vampire Diaries, our nocturnal obsession continues.
Is vamping another unhealthy byproduct of the digital age? Or is it simply a modern day pushing of the boundaries as kids try to find that time, place and space to chill out and connect with others?
When kids are on their devices late at night, obviously there is the risk of not getting enough sleep. Research already shows our kids (and their parents) are not getting the recommended hours of sleep. And we all now what happens to brain function the following day when we are tired…….not to mention the effects on energy, tolerance and stress levels.
The problem with late night ‘vamping’ with devices is the recent discovery that the blue lights emitted from our devices interferes with the production of melatonin, which is the hormone we release to help us sleep. So those texting well into to the night may have trouble falling asleep once they finally put the device away, or alternatively may have a sore head as they fall asleep face planting the screen.
Aside from the obvious sleep issues, there is also the disturbing element of negative interaction with people late at night. If kids are being bullied for example, then reading comments or engaging in negative talk late at night can not only interfere with sleep, but the experiences are a lot more isolating and fearful when experienced in the middle of the night.
Some say this is just another example of teenagers pushing boundaries. Wanting to have that personal space and private conversations. Whilst we know that nothing online can ever really be deemed private, maybe there is an an element of them getting some of this privacy back, or at least the feeling of privacy, by doing it late at night. Maybe these kids lives are so cluttered with school, homework and extra curricular activities, that they feel this is the only time for relaxing and socialising with friends uninterrupted.
I have to say I am pretty bad at role modelling this behaviour. Thankfully it’s at a time when my kids are asleep and cant see me up til late and my ‘vamping’ is usually reading and research and very little socialising. But I could always have more sleep so this is something I should probably address.
Like all behaviours, it doesn’t take long for them to become habits. And the longer a habit continues, the harder it is to break. For our kids, I suggest keeping the devices out of the bedroom at night and be sure they have plenty of other ‘downtime’ to connect with their friends, both online and in real life.