The more you play, the less you sleep: smartphones keep kids awake

Younger children lose an average of 15,6 minutes of sleep per night - they have a harder time falling asleep - for every hour spent using smartphones and tablets

This is the finding of a study conducted in the UK - between June 2015 and March 2016 - on children aged 6 to 36 months that correlated responses from 715 parents on the amount of time their children spent playing with these touchscreen devices and the amount of nighttime sleep their children got.

This is the first study - published in Scientific Reports by Tim Smith of Birkbeck University of London - to examine the effect of these new technologies on children's health and sleep habits. The results revealed that 75% of children under 36 months of age used a touchscreen every day, while the percentage ranged from 51% of those between 6 and 11 months to 92% of those between 25 and 36 months. While the results may be of concern to parents, the study also found that active use of these devices accelerates motor skill development.

More daytime sleep

The survey, if we go into more detail, found that - for every hour of additional use of touchscreen devices - children lost an average of 26.4 minutes of sleep at night while gaining 8 to 10 minutes of sleep during the day, for a total combined loss of 15.6 minutes of sleep over 24 hours. So, touchscreen yes or touchscreen? This is a preliminary investigation that will surely be followed by further studies. The first finding is the loss of a few minutes of sleep, but the devices now in every household actively stimulate children far more than passively watching a television program. Each parent, then, adjusts as he or she sees fit.