Teens and Technology – Sleep Deprivation and Security

Latest News Opinion
teens-and-technology-sleep-deprivation-and-security

SLEEP DEPRIVATION

In the previous report by Arekibo and Jack Connery on ‘Teen Digital Life,’ it was stated that “leaving a mobile phone under [a teenager’s] pillow while they sleep…is now commonplace.”

However, when asked about this, only 14% of teenagers admitted to doing this. All of the others said they either left their phones on their desk or on the floor to charge overnight. In any case, while the phone is definitely in close proximity to its owner, it is rare to have it under their pillow. This is probably a good thing, especially with the news last year about Samsung Note 7 phones “exploding.”

It also seems that it may have become easier to get a good night’s sleep, thanks to new ‘mute’ options on most social media, making sure teens aren’t disturbed by notifications during the night. Of course, getting to sleep is still a problem, as the lights emitting from the screens stop you from producing melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. It is controlled by your body clock and the amount of light you’re exposed to every day. It’s advised that teens go an hour without screens before bed – however, this can prove tricky, since teens would normally use this time to catch up on posts or chat with friends.

When surveyed on using technology before bed, around 43% said that they only found it hard to sleep “occasionally”, while another 43% said they didn’t feel any sleep deprivation. The remaining 14% felt the ramifications of their late-night browsing. These results suggest that teenagers aren’t aware that technology is reducing their rest or they are so used to sleep deprivation that it feels ‘normal’ to them.

It’s important to note that teens may not be the only ones affected by a lack of sleep – apart from insomniacs, toddlers, who have been given iPads as toys, also experience sleep deprivation, at a much earlier age than the current generation. Will this worsen the problem, or will a solution arise? Only time will tell.

SECURITY

Teenagers are no strangers to the ‘dark’ side of the web. Many teens use it to stream free movies, download free music and access programs you’d otherwise have to pay for.

To this end, teenagers are quite safety-conscious having learnt from parents, siblings or themselves how to stay relatively safe, while still getting what they want.

That said, teens aren’t experts and can be caught out. Recently, one of my old friends accidentally gave his password to a scammer who was phishing. This is where a scammer will create a fake page of an established website and ask a user to put in private information. Because of my friends’ mistake, he gave away his Facebook password which let the scammer send spam to all his friends.

Other online problems include ransomware, puppet scams and key-logging software. Ransomware is software that encrypts personal files and only unlocks them at a price. Puppet scams are the evolution of the email spam, using information on social media to personalise the message. Keylogging software is surveillance software that can record keystrokes put into a computer – hackers use it to find passwords. According to our research, about 57% of teens are only concerned about cybersecurity “sometimes.” Just under 23% are concerned about their safety and the rest responded with “no.” The main concern for teens is the breach of their private information.

However, this doesn’t stop them from going on to potentially harmful websites to pirate the latest movie. It might be that teens think that, from all the time spent on the internet they won’t fall for it. To an extent, when avoiding viruses and obvious spam, this is true. But with more unusual and well thought-out scams taking place, I think teens need to stop relying on a false sense of security and using a little more common sense.

Other blogs in this series:

If you have any questions about this report, please feel free to contact us here.

Written by Jim Xi Johnson.