We’re all so used to using smartphones for all sorts of task that the handheld devices are, for many of us, the first thing we turn to in the morning – it’s also our go-to alarm clock – and the last thing we put down in the evening.
This applies to most age groups, yet, for children and young people, it can be particularly detrimental to their health, with a new study showing that youngsters who engage with smartphones at night enjoy less sleep and feel more fatigued.
Researchers at UC Berkeley found that children who sleep in the same room as their smartphone or tablet – described as “small screen” devices – experienced “insufficient” rest or sleep.
“Studies have shown that traditional screens and screen time, like TV viewing, can interfere with sleep, but much less is known about the impacts of smartphonesand other small screens,” said lead author Jennifer Falbe, of the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley.
“We found that both sleeping near a small screen and sleeping in a room with a TV set were related to shorter weekday sleep duration. Children who slept near a small screen, compared to those who did not, were also more likely to feel like they did not get enough sleep.”
Speaking to CNN, one parent explained that he and his partner have a no-screen policy for bedtime. Alan Stephenson said that he is keen for his 11-year-old to sleep soundly when heading up for bed so has enforced a ban of sorts on smartphones and tablets passed a certain time.
Also speaking to the broadcaster was the psychologist Jessica Kellstein, who noted that she also restricts the use of handheld devices in her children’s bedrooms in the evening.
She continued: “I keep them out of their room to help them settle for bed without screen glow and not to be tempted to go on after bedtime.”