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Digital diversions leave teens, parents sleep-deprived

Hundreds of thousands of students return to classrooms across the D.C. area.

Who said only parents of newborns are bleary-eyed?

"I think parents are, by and large, sleep-deprived," she says.

For all of the effort, her daughter often stays up anyway unless her mom confiscates the book.

Patrolling the house at night can take many forms.

Sharon Rainey, 47, mom of a rising senior at Langley High School, says sleep became an issue when her son was in about eighth grade and the need for social connection took hold.

"We definitely had to do something, or he would've been up until 3 a.m. talking or IMing to his friends," she says. "I think they get energized by communicating with each other, and I think they lose track of time, and they just sort of forget."

Thus did the family computer get located in the kitchen.

A few times, she heard the sounds of the stairs creaking, as he tried to get online unnoticed. But over time, she says, he became more willing to unplug. Still, Rainey says that sometimes she gets up in the night and passes his bedroom to see whether the lights are on.

At the sound of her approach, his room goes dark.

"It's this kind of silent game we play," she says. "I know he's staying up too late sometimes, and he knows, too."

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