The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent our advertisers

Friday, January 08, 2016

Why Are Kids So Unhappy? Two Words: Screen Time

It’s 12.30am, and time for my pre-bed ritual: tiptoe upstairs so as not to wake the children, brush my teeth, turn out the lights … and then catch sight of that telltale, flickering blue glow coming from under the 15-year-old’s bedroom door. I mentally prepare myself for the nightly battle, and knock on the door.

“Come on, Fred, turn your phone off – it’s nearly 1am and you’ve got school tomorrow.”

“Don’t lie, Dad. It’s not ‘nearly’ 1am. It’s only 12.30.”

“Just turn it off and get to sleep. Please. It’s only crappy videos on the internet – they’ll still be there in the morning.”

“But I’ve done nothing wrong!” (I paraphrase: this is a teenage boy we’re talking about here, so his “conversation” is littered with swearing and streetspeak, which are best left to the imagination.)

It wasn’t always like this: until a couple of years ago, rather than gawping at YouTubers drinking live goldfish and who knows what else they get up to, my darling boy wasted his waking hours playing games, specifically Mine-bloody-craft. How I hated it, with its stupid, make-believe world of pixellated, Lego-faced critters and monsters. Some commentators went so far as to argue that a Minecraft habit was somehow educational and healthy, the fools.

And it’s not just us parents who are made miserable by our offspring’s online addictions. Earlier this week the NSPCC chief executive, Tim Wanless, warned of a nation of deeply unhappy children, due to “the pressure to keep up with friends and have the perfect life online ... adding to the sadness that many young people feel on a daily basis”.



Anonymous said...

Easy solution: take the damn phone away.

Anonymous said...

What utter crap.

Anonymous said...

Turn off the router. Done deal.

Anonymous said...

Why are kids unhappy? Simple , " They have no parents "

Anonymous said...

Amen 9:17

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you are trying to tell your adult son what he can do with his own phone in his own house!
Wait! You said he is 15 and in your house??
Okay so why are you pleading and negotiating and asking??
I don't think the kid is the problem,daddy-o.

Anonymous said...

When it's time to go to bed, put all the cell phones in the house on the dining room table until morning when everyone can retrieve their phone. And don't use the excuse that it is your alarm to wake you up...there is such a thing as an alarm clock.