Many teenagers nowadays are staying up until the wee hours of the morning doing variety of things like texting on their mobile phones; chatting online; playing video games; downloading movies; watching TV, DVDs or videos; listening to music; spending time on social media; and engaging in other hobbies and activities. They think that staying up late is cool and part of a life of a teenager. Some say it’s a trend that influences the young generation to cut their sleeping time in favor of the Internet, social media, and gadgets. They call this teenage nocturnal behavior vamping.
What is vamping? The word vamping is obviously derived from the word vampire. The popularity of Twilight andTrue Blood probably has something to do about the term. A lot of teenagers love staying up all night. They go to bed when the sun comes up as if they are afraid of turning to dust.
The hashtag #vamping has made its mark on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Teens are using the hashtag whenever they stay up late at night; often without their parents knowing.
Vamping is associated with kids and teens around the world including the Philippines. Many Pinoy teenagers have jumped into the bandwagon. I have seen evidence and subtle hints ofvamping on my newsfeed from younger cousins, nieces and nephews. They sometimes post vamping selfies on Instagram.
Jennifer, 45 years old has two teenage daughters. She considers herself as a digital parent. She says that with myriad of electronic gadgets like laptops, tablets, smart phones, mp3 players, and video game consoles, her teenagers have many things to keep them busy without noticing the ticking of the clock. Jennifer is concerned that vamping will affect her daughters’ health and grades. As a mom, she tries to put some parameters of control to protect her girls from getting tangled in the nocturnal web. The family agreed that bedtime during school nights is not later 9:30 p.m. Jennifer and her husband give their daughters a bit more freedom during weekends. They can stay up until 11 p.m. during Fridays and Saturdays but they have to be in bed by 9:30 p.m. during Sundays.
Jennifer makes it a point to occasionally check the bedroom of her daughters to ensure that they are sleeping at the right time. She admits catching them a few times staying up way past their bedtimes. There was a time when the girls got grounded for staying up until 1 a.m. during a school night. Jennifer read the tweet of one of her daughters about #vamping until 1 a.m. to chat with friends which got them both in trouble. The girls have learned not to cross their parents again; otherwise they might end up losing their gadget privileges for an indefinite period. Jennifer says that it’s not easy raising teenagers in this digital era. She and her husband try their best to set ground rules at home but not to the point of being too strict. She says that parenting is a learning process. She gets helpful tips by reading parenting articles, getting advice from family and friends and firsthand experience.
What motivates kids to engage in so-called vamping? According to The New York Times, teenagers are often swamped with homework, papers, reports, and projects. They also tend to juggle extra-curricular activities like music lessons and sports with academics. Their busy schedules give them little time to enjoy personal interests. Many teenagers find a sense of freedom at night when homework and other school-related responsibilities are done. Teens take advantage of late hours because that’s the time when most parents have gone to bed; giving them more leverage to do the things they like without prying eyes or words of disapproval.
What are the negative effects of vamping? Many parents are becoming concerned because vamping is not limited to teens anymore. It seems that younger kids are picking up the habit. Perhaps seeing older siblings staying up late and going under the covers to use their gadgets are giving young ones the wrong idea thatvamping is a fun and cool thing. Vamping has become a rampant behavior among teens that school administrators are also beginning to notice. Lack of sleep can affect children’s ability to focus on their studies.
Based on WebMD, sleep plays an important role in thinking and learning. Cognitive processes are negatively affected by lack of sleep. Kids and teens who don’t get enough Zzzzs may experience difficulty concentrating on school work, staying alert in class, focusing their attention on lessons, reasoning, and problem solving. Lack of sleep can hurt school performance. Children who often stay up late at night have less time to review for exams. Learning inefficiency can occur because lack of sleep could make it more difficult to process what they learn in class. According to Kids Health, school-age kids need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Lack of sleep can also affect children’s behavior. It can cause kids to become irritable or exhibit hyper behavior. It is vital for growing kids to have consistent bedtime, especially during school nights.
How can you protect children from the ill effects of vamping? It’s a good idea for parents and their children to discuss and agree on an ideal bedtime during school nights and weekends. It is also advisable to agree on a fair form of consequence when rules are broken. For instance, kids can get grounded from using electronics for certain number of days if they are caught staying up beyond their bedtime using gadgets.
You can also consider using forms of Internet parental controls that can limit Internet usage at certain time of the day. Establish ground rules when it comes to use of electronics. Some suggest that parents do not allow the use of gadgets in the bedroom after bedtime. You can also turn off the Internet during bedtime. This can prevent kids and teens from sneaking during the night to use their laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and other electronics.
Make sure that your children understand why you set certain rules and limitations. You can start by explaining the negative effects of vamping. It is recommended to monitor your kids’ activities on the Internet especially on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It is vital to be a good example to your children by following the same rules that you set in your household.
by Ma. Rachel Yapchiongco as originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles.