With the summer months finally here, a Perthshire charity has launched a webinar for parents to understand the effects social media has on their teenager’s sleep.
Teens and pre-teens are renowned for wanting to stay up late and sleep in late and the issue is only exacerbated when school is out.
That’s why Parents Supporting Parents, which launched in Auchterarder in 2020, has recruited the help of Glasgow University expert Dr Heather Cleland Woods to inform parents at a webinar on Tuesday, July 6.
Dr Cleland Woods will help families better understand their social media usage and it is hoped her wealth of experience will help ease parents’ worries over the change in their teenager’s routines.
She is a mum to a teenager and a senior psychology lecturer who has spent years working on her #sleepyteens project which has contributed to UK Government reports on screen time and the heath of young people.
Claire Thomson, from Perth, has signed up for the webinar after witnessing a change in her 14-year-old son’s sleeping pattern and behaviour since his use of social media has grown.
His social media access is restricted as far as possible however the teenager is now hoping to have unrestricted access during the summer holidays.
Claire is hoping Dr Cleland Woods can offer insight into the consequences this can have on a young mind.
It’s trying to get that balance between allowing him to have the freedom and the responsibility to have that versus not doing any lasting damage to his sleep.”
She said: “Our 14-year-old has been asking through term time for unregulated screen time on his phone.
“We had said we didn’t think that was a good idea but through the summer holidays we could give it a try and see how his behaviour is and how it impacts the whole family.
“I’m hoping the webinar will help us show him how he is behaving and what the consequences are of staying up so late on your phone.
“We just need that evidence based back up to show him we’re not the bad guys and help him understand why he’s not able to have this just yet.
“It’s trying to get that balance between allowing him to have the freedom and the responsibility to have that versus not doing any lasting damage to his sleep.”
Parents worry that they are allowing their children to spend too much time on their phones.”
Laura Kelly, Parents Supporting Parents.
The webinar is open to all parents and carers in Perth and Kinross with children over the age of 11.
Laura Kelly, the Perthshire charity’s development officer, said local parents were increasingly worried with their children’s social media usage.
Routines, she said, were likely to be scrapped or altered in the summer months to allow children to enjoy their devices more.
She said: “There’s a lot of negative connotations around social media and the use of words like addiction and screen time in terms of how teenagers spend time on their devices.
“I think parents worry they are allowing their children to spend too much time on their phones.”
To sign up to the event, which runs from 6.30pm to 8pm, visit www.parentssupportingparents.co.uk/our-events.