Children Lose Over 30 Minutes Of Sleep For Using iPads Or Other Touchscreen Gadgets, Study Says

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald April 15, 04:00 am

Here's another reason for parents to limit their children's screen time. A new study says younger children lose over 30 minutes of sleep because of their constant use of iPads or other touchscreen gadgets.

Experts from the University of London conducted the study among 715 children from ages six months to 3-years-old. Seventy percent of these kids' parents said they owned either an iPad, mobile phone or tablet.

The researchers compared results between kids who constantly played with touchscreen gadgets during the day and those who had limited screen time. The experts published their study in Scientific Reports.

Some 75 percent of families with touchscreen gadgets admitted their children use these daily. About 92 percent of kids between 25 to 30 months (toddlers) were on the devices regularly, while it's 51 percent for kids from six to 11 months (babies).

The researchers also asked the parents about their children's sleep habits during the day and at night. They also considered maternal education and TV exposure in breaking down the findings.

The experts learned children with more screen time had shorter sleep at night. Averagely, the children lost 26 minutes of sleep during nighttime and 11 minutes of sleep in the daytime for every extra hour they spent on the gadgets, according to Live Science.

Some parents said their kids catch up on naps during the day. Their average sleep time, however, can't make up for the required standard of sleep for kids.

Screen time exposure also influenced how long it took for the children to fall asleep. The experts, however, were unable to determine if too much touchscreen use affected why some kids' sleep are interrupted at night.

The study emphasized on how improper use of gadgets among kids could displace their sleep schedule. The study compounds a similar research undertaken in 2012 on how blue light from smartphones and tablets affected adults' sleep, as per Harvard Health Publication.

The experts, however, don't advise denying younger children of gadget use completely as it can have positive effects like developing their fine motor skills. The experts said further research should determine how to mitigate the effects of prolonged touchscreen use and sleeping habits.

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