Why allowing teens to use phones before bed is now beneficial 

A teen’s perspective on technology use before bed


Photo provided by author.

Wilsonville high school student, Sydnie Bierma, watching Netflix from bed.

Contemporary life has been enhanced through technology. Parents and doctors claim being on technology before falling asleep is unhealthy. While this may have been true 10 years ago, it can be proven that using a device before bed is a vital step in teens nightly routines. The use of technology before bed allows a teen’s mind to be put at ease through watching shows and short video segments, and it creates comfort for teens with anxiety. 

Ever since I can remember both of my parents have stayed up late into the evening catching up on their favorite shows such as Hawaii 5-0. My parents are both self employed and extremely busy. The one thing that gets them through each day is being able to shut their computer and sit down on the couch together. There’s something so settling about turning your mind off to tune into your favorite show. 

This is the same for teens. I love nothing more than to be cuddled in bed while watching my favorite show at the moment. It helps take my mind off of things and slows my brain down for the evening. 

Regardless of using my phone to watch a show, I’d stay up late watching tv no matter the device it’s on. My bed just happens to be the more practical place to do it and with help from my phone this is possible. Phones nowadays come equipped with night settings to cancel out that awfully bright blue light. This makes watching these shows more bearable and honestly less bright than watching them from your tv.

Another activity young adults partake in before bed is Tiktok, a video platform where creators produce 15-60 second videos. Tiktok is appealing to all types of teens. Similar to watching a show, it gets your mind off of things. 

It’s so relaxing to mindlessly scroll through Tiktok. Again with the less bright setting it’s almost pleasing to the eye. If I’m unable to watch Tiktok before bed my day feels incomplete. The app even creates a “for you” page that has content you’ll most likely enjoy. 

Tiktok for me is something I like to check daily, just like my dad checks the stock market. At this point it’s a habit that keeps me mentally sane. 

I also sometimes prefer to watch Youtube. I love watching travel and skincare videos to inspire me. I feel I’m most creative before bed and watching Youtube cultivates that for me as well as many other teens. 

The most scientific reason to have your phone before bed is to use it for a meditation or bible app. On nights when I choose not to watch a show I still need a way to feel at ease. I use Insight Timer which has breathing exercises and guided meditations. Using this I almost instantly fall asleep. 

I also have plenty of friends who use the Bible App before bed to sooth them. Many of them have a weekly plan they follow and everynight they check in before bed to put their mind at ease. Instead of using a physical bible to read the word of God they’re able to use technology from the comfort of their own bed.  This is a similar idea to when the kindle came out for reading. It’s easier and less of a hassle than flipping through multiple pages of the Bible or a book of choice. 

Another healthy way teens use phones for sleep is through white noise sounds. I have an app downloaded that plays rain or ocean music depending on the mood I’m in. Another very credible teen, Anna Burkhead, who recently has been going through family trauma uses a fan noise to fall asleep. It’s statistically proven that listening to these sounds can help with anxiety. I’ve even gotten my parents hooked on using relaxing sounds before bed.

The one time I would say using technology before bed can be harmful is when teens scroll through Instagram and instantly feel like their life isn’t “cool” enough. Instagram in general can be a very inspirational yet toxic place. Scrolling through the “gram” can get teens wound up before sleeping; however, this can be avoided by not scrolling through Instagram in bed. 

I usually check Instagram around 7 which is plenty of time before I “hit the hay”. This way I can check up on what my friends are doing without comparing myself to them before falling asleep. It’s almost like checking emails to me, it’s something that’s not relaxing yet has to be done. 

Next time when an adult questions the need of cell phone use before bed you have proof. I believe if teens weren’t able to use phones before bed in this day and age anxiety levels would actually skyrocket. Technology allows teens of this generation to cope with things our parents didn’t have to. Because of the challenges today’s society brings, it is healthy to allow teens to use their technology in bed with precautions in mind.