The night became the moment chosen by the adolescents to socialize between pairs. In the picture, Juan Ignacio, 15, playing online with his friends Credit: Kindness

The arrival of quarantine in our lives changed our temporal logic. For example, the night ceased to be, in many homes, that space dedicated to the rest of the whole family. With the passing of days, the dawn was consolidated as the moment chosen by adolescents

for the virtual meeting

with friends, whether it is to network, make video calls or chat.

This new sense of night in adolescents is, not infrequently,

focus of conflict

with adults, either due to the parents’ rejection of the children staying awake, or in the attempt to set a maximum schedule. Also, of course, the nocturnal virtuality of the children generates concern among parents, in a context in which the cases of

grooming

 and

cyberbullying

 they are the order of the day. What is this new habit about and how to accompany it?

Pediatrician Enrique Berner, head of the Adolescence service at the Cosme Argerich hospital, locates this predilection for boys at night in the framework of a need specific to the evolutionary age they are undergoing: that of

have their own spaces

, something typical of adolescence and that quarantine makes difficult. “Let’s not forget that teenagers are countercultural. The night is for them what the day is for us, more now where teenagers need their own time. They need time to be among peers and probably use that space to meet again or maybe to meet their affections, with their friends in this new time. Connectivity brings them closer, “reflects the specialist.

“The nocturnal virtuality of children generates concern among parents, in a context in which cases of grooming and cyberbullying are the order of the day”

In Constanza’s home, the quarantine not only disrupted the weekly routine but changed the dynamics of certain family spaces. “Juani took over the living room,” he says. Juani is Juan Ignacio, his 15-year-old son, who shares a room with his 9-year-old sister. “He stays at night

playing play

with friends until late. We leave it because we understand that it is their moment of socialization. All I do is close the door to my bedroom because the next day my husband starts working early and Juani, with the headphones on, doesn’t realize how loud he speaks. And what language do you use? “, She says between surprised and understanding.

“We try to understand that, when the boys are in pairs, they let loose more. Besides, they have to do something and the options are not so many. He went from going to school, playing soccer, meeting friends to ramble on weekends in the park and even go out to the movies with them, to have virtual classes and

celebrate birthday by Zoom

. A very big change, “adds Constanza.

For Gabriela Cramer, a psychoanalyst with a specialization in childhood and adolescence, adult tolerance is essential at this time. “We are all living different moments, difficult at times. Adolescents too. The quarantine surprised them in the process of consolidating their own desires and seeking independence from parents. This may cause them

discomfort

and generate

confrontation

with adults, “explains the specialist.

“There is a lot of talk about the need to maintain routines at this time. In the case of adolescents, we must understand that part of their routines happen at night, when the rest sleeps and they find a bit of

privacy

“adds Cramer, professor at the Higher Course in Psychoanalysis with children and adolescents of the Argentine School Association of Psychotherapy for Graduates.

When it comes to teens and the quarantined night, experts agree that

parental function must not lose relevance

, also when regulating these new customs in a variable way according to age.

“Parents have to accompany. This time requires a

new intra-family order

, with guidelines agreed according to different ages, because it is not the same at 13 or 14 as at 18 or even after 18.

We don’t have to think about night life in boys as something negative

if later they manage to get involved in other things. If they complete virtual classes and school assignments, with sports practices and even collaborate with household chores, “considers Berner, who next Saturday will speak at 6 pm on Instagram with the teenager Tomás Sarquis, within the framework of the program

#Switch AdolescenceArgerich

, which proposes greater exchange and listening with adolescents (

@adolescenciaargerich

).

“This time requires a new intra-family order, with guidelines agreed upon by different ages,” explains Berner.

But in what situations should we contemplate the possibility that boys’ nightlife

don’t be so healthy

? Cramer says a few: “Alerts should go on if kids can’t do homework during the day, even if it’s at different times than we would like. Also if nothing happens from the expected school exchange at this time. But, above all, there are what to evaluate

what function does that they do at night

. If it promotes the exchange with friends it is different from being alone playing until any time and that this contributes to greater isolation because later they spend the day sleeping and without socializing, “explains the specialist, who adds that it never hurts to reinforce the dangers that comes with virtuality.

“The virtual has its risks, which were also before the pandemic. It is necessary to talk, especially with the youngest, to encourage the different exchanges to be with known people. The parents have to monitor them. They must also alert them to the

exchange of personal and intimate photos

, something quite common among them. Make them understand that one loses control of what is sent, even if it is to the best friend. It can give rise to bullying or to make it go viral, “he concludes.

Tips for parents

  • This time is a great opportunity to fully experience communication. It’s a historic moment to share different moments with the family, like watching a movie together on a Friday night, something almost unthinkable before quarantine.
  • Among pubescent boys and younger adolescents, the time spent awake has to be more limited.
  • Among the smallest, you have to monitor and accompany them in their virtual life. As in the real world, there is a way to go to autonomy.
  • Encourage a daily moment of family activities.
  • Evaluate what function they do at night. If you promote the exchange with friends it is different from being alone playing until any hour and that contributes to greater isolation.
  • Remember that the boys are not on vacation, and ensure that they comply with their class schedules and their virtual sports training, those who do sports.

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