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Texting in the Middle of the Night

I recently accepted “friend requests” from some of my former students who are now in high school.  I’ve found myself playing the role of parent more than once, telling them to go to sleep (when I was up late feeding my daughter), to watch their language, and to think before they post a status update that lambasts one of their classmates.  Not exactly what I hoped for when I accepted their friend requests, but so far none of them has un-friended me.  I think I’ve walked the fine-line between former teacher and “friend” pretty well… so far.

Recently, I’ve noticed a bunch of them posting status updates saying “Off FB for the night.  Text me if you need me.”  Really?  Why on earth would someone need them at 1 a.m.?  I let those status updates go since when and where they text should be an issue between them and their parents.

But then, last week, I was watching a segment on “The Today Show” called Advice for Raising Girls in the Digital Age.  It featured an interview, about online and texting habits, with three teenage girls.  Then, there was an interview with Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out (Revised and Updated): The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls.  (Click here to watch the clip from “The Today Show.”)  One of the things Simmons talked about were girls texting after bedtime, which often leads to them writing things that come across as mean or even as (cyber)bullying.  Apparently texting in the middle of the night seems to be a habit that extends far beyond my former students.  While I’m all for honoring all kinds of writing, I’m more than troubled by the epidemic of this kind of 24/7 connection this generation of children has through texting, e-mail, online/video chat, and other forms of social media.  There has to be a point at which children turn-off the computer and their cell phone and do things face-to-face or just get a good night’s rest!

Please watch the segment from “The Today Show” and share your thoughts by leaving a comment.  I’d love to hear about ways you have talked or may be talking to your students, girls OR boys, about everything cyberbulling to texting in the middle of the night.

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

6 thoughts on “Texting in the Middle of the Night Leave a comment

  1. I’m bracing myself for when Little L. is not so little anymore. She’ll be two in October and I actually just broke down and bought a toy cell phone for the first time (the day of the hurricane, in hopes a new, flashy toy with buttons and sounds would help us get through days without power if needed!). To choose the toy phone we roamed the aisles of Target trying out different toys until we found the one that seemed to hold her interest the longest! Funny that the most “addictive” toy I could find was a toy cell phone. Funny, and a little scary after seeing the clip from the Today show.

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  2. Oh this is such an issue. All of my girl drama started with late night texts last year. I can’t help but think that we might have avoided it if parents were not allowing students to have those phones late at night. Parents have to realize that technology is not a diary. Kids really shouldn’t have the assumption of privacy when it comes to technology. Our district has strict FB rules, so much so that I’m not even sure I can be friends with former students in high school. But I’ve told them all they can friend me once they are done with our district and I’ve also told them that they can expect me to be just as nosy and opinionated as I am now.

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  3. I was truly alarmed the first time I realized that my students are up all night texting with each other, either on the phone or on Facebook. They need sleep! I didn’t even think about the part where they might be stirring up drama in their sleep deprived states.

    When I finally relented to my own middle school daughter and bought her a phone, we immediately made up the rule that it had to stay downstairs at the charging station with our phones. Same thing with ipods at my house. She’s been bugging us about a Facebook for quite some time now. As a parent, my dilemma is how do I keep her from being too connected (and disconnected from the reality around her) and not be an outcast with her friends.

    On an amusing note, my daughter had a birthday party at our house last year, and while we were all sitting outside enjoying the evening air and barbeque, one of the girls took out her cell phone and started texting. I called her out on it, “Everyone is here! Who are you texting that is more important than the friends sitting right here?” Needless to say, I am not the cool mom…But I have potential, right?

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  4. I read something recently about this as well, but it was written by a mom who thought the kids were staying up too late. She made a rule that all computers/iPods/cell phones had to be in her room for the night. They were all plugged in, turned off and charging for the night while her kids SLEPT! I think that is a great solution. I find that I often have to stop myself from grabbing the iPod at night when I am up with the baby. It interrupts my sleep! I was finding it harder to get back to sleep if I spent a few minutes using the iPod to read while nursing the baby. I am sure kids are having the same problem, but aren’t mature enough to recognize it as a problem.

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  5. I would completely agree with you. I am “friends” on Facebook with a few of my former students. I too have found my self in the role of Mom with them on occasion. At first I wouldn’t allow any former students to be friends on FB. But with the rise of cyber bullying I figured at least my posts might give them an idea of how we can be on Social Networking sites responsibly and I am there to remind them to be their best selves. I have also noticed that they are always in contact with their friends. I remember as a kid feeling that need, but we didn’t have the means to do this. I wonder when they will ever have downtime to relax, reflect, and just be themselves. It seems to be much more prevalent with girls, but boys aren’t exempt either.

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  6. Interesting, and alarming, too. I have read Odd Girl Out, but with the burst of technology lately, I imagine we should all read the revised ed. I too am on Facebook with some former students, am amazed at how much they post, often saying little other than quite a lot of “I love you’s”, as if they need to keep saying that in order to get a reply of “I love you, too”. A colleague lately was telling me that a recent book (sorry no title) was theorizing that students were not maturing as fast in their ability to hold deep, thoughtful discussions because of the brief (& surface) interactions of texting & other social media. Last week a group of last year’s students came to visit. They stayed for about 15 minutes, & it was nice to visit, but when they walked out, each pulled out their phones to check messages. I hope parents are watching.

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