View Comments
Its log off and goodnight, kids
Unplugged: Get tech out of kids bedrooms. Picture: Supplied

The heads of two prestigious boys' schools have used their first newsletters of the year to urge parents to remove technology from their sons' bedrooms and make sure they get enough sleep.

Scotch College headmaster Alec O'Connell wrote that parents should ensure boys got at least nine hours of quality sleep on most nights.

Senior school psychologist Shauna Lipscombe wrote in the same newsletter that the intrusion of mobile phones, laptops and iPads into students' bed- rooms meant they were getting less than the recommended eight to 10 hours sleep each night, with "far-reaching consequences".

She said about half of teenagers had their own television and most had a phone or an iPad but parents should ban all digital media from bedrooms.

"All are quite seductive, chewing up a lot of time, especially sleeping time," she said. Dr O'Connell said that research had found that poor sleep habits could lead to anxiety and depression in children.

Other research had found it could take up to 1½ hours after using electronic devices for the brain to reach a state relaxed enough for sleep.

Hale School headmaster Stuart Meade wrote that parents had to take away the temptation for students to go online when they should be sleeping.

"As we commence a new school year, I restate my plea to parents of boys of all ages to remove internet-equipped devices from the bedroom or any area where there cannot be regular parental monitoring," he wrote.

He urged parents to implement the "bucket rule", where all mobile phones in the house were placed in a bucket in the kitchen at 10pm and left there until morning.

Mr Meade told The West Australian he gave parents the same reminder every year.

Melbourne clinical psychologist Andrew Fuller, who gives talks to WA schools on resilience, said getting less than eight hours sleep was "disastrous" for students because sleep helped consolidate long-term memory and produce the natural antidepressant serotonin.

"So if you abbreviate sleep continuously, not only do you not learn as well, you are less happy and more vulnerable to stress and depression," he said.