Touchscreen Toddlers Sleep Less

According to Birkbeck, University of London and King’s College London, three quarters (3/4) of children aged 6 months to 3 years in the UK use iPads and smartphones every single day.

According to researcher Tim Smith, ‘Light from electronic screens” decreases the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin in adults and it seems to have a similar effect in children. Melatonin is a type of hormone that regulates the natural sleep-wake cycle. Due to this, their sleep can be badly affected. However, on a positive note, use of smartphones can also enhance children’s motor skills, he said.

Smith and his colleagues conducted an online survey of 715 parents to get information about their children’s daily phone use and sleep, they found it affected their child’s sleep losing 15 minutes for every hour spent on a device.

Sleep is essential for humans functioning but especially for children. In toddlers, cognitive development and sleep go hand in hand. Technology has proven to be an attractive source of sensory stimulation for toddlers but it comes at a price. Around 20-30% of toddlers have sleeping problems, the main cause being media, namely televisions and video games, and other portable devices.

Our society in the 21st has become very tech savy, because of this, it has become common to see many new gadgets including mobiles and tablets in the hands of children at very early stages of life. Tech-savvy parents are themselves teaching their kids to use these gadgets. In many cases, it is seen that the child is not able to speak, but they know how to use the mobile or tablet. Pawning a device to your child might keep them quite for a couple of hours, which is great for parents but you risk the child becoming addicted like teenagers and adults do. This can result in the child becoming dependant which will impact their sleep and early stage development.

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