A new research discovered that those children who spent more time using touchscreen devices experience more trouble with sleep. The light from their screens might be lowering the levels of a sleep hormone, and this might also affect children.
The researchers from King’s College London and Birkbeck University of London decided to see what effects these devices might have on children, now that they have become so widely used among kids of all ages.
Screen light might cause sleep patterns to become irregular
It is known that the light coming from the screens of these electronic devices might affect the levels of melatonin produced by the body. The hormone is responsible with regulating the sleep patterns and the artificial light is lowering its levels. This is the case with an adult body, but it might have the same impact on children.
Since the smartphone and tablet trend is quite a recent trend, there are no scientific studies to analyze their effect on children. Thus, the researchers developed the study to look both at the negative and the positive effects of the use of touchscreen devices among babies and young children.
They developed an online survey and asked 715 parents several questions on their children’s use of such devices and their sleeping patterns. The results showed that the children lost 16 minutes of sleep for each hour they spent in front of such a screen.
Most children use touchscreen devices every day
However, the causes might be different. The light from the screen might indeed affect the levels of melatonin in the child’s body, but the kid might also get distracted really easily. Thus, a prolonged use of such a device might signal a hyperactive child, for instance. Also, the parents might be less strict with the sleeping hours, so there are many factors to consider.
From all the children who were part of the study, around half of those aged between 6 and 11 months used touchscreen phones every day. As the age grows, so does the use of such devices. Thus, the rate reaches 92 percent among children aged 2.
Researchers found the study a little peculiar, since those parents who offered to be part of the survey did not belong from typical families. For instance, a high percentage of them had university or postgraduate studies. Therefore, their parenting ways might be unconventional and not typical for other parents.
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