(WXYZ) – If your toddler has taken a serious liking to your smartphone or tablet, you’re not alone, 75 percent of toddlers now use touch-screens on a daily basis, according to a new study.
But there’s a downside — the increase in screen-time may be leading to a decrease in sleep.
For every hour spent in front of a screen, researchers now say, toddlers lose about 15 minutes of sleep.
This study, believe it or not, was one of the first of its kind — there isn’t a lot of research about the affects of touch-screens on sleep patterns in infants and young children.
Interestingly, other research out there seems to show that the swiping action used in touch-screens may help kids develop motor-skills. So this issue isn’t completely black and white.
Modern technology isn’t something we necessarily have to lose sleep over. Here are a few things you can do if your toddler has a habit of playing with your smartphone or tablet:
- Treat touch-screen time the same way you do TV-time. Limit it to certain hours of the day, or to a fixed amount of time.
- Shut off all screens about an hour before bed, if possible. Blue light emitted from television and computer screens has been proven to adversely affect sleep.
- Read a book before bedtime. Kids love stories, and reading to them can help them fall asleep faster!
- Don’t fret over all this too much. Most young kids don’t spend hours a day in front of screens — so any sleep loss would likely be minimal.
With the pace of technology accelerating as quickly as it is, we need more studies like this one.
Kids are going to be using things like smartphones and tablets more and more — and so keeping them away completely is probably unrealistic.
In general, it’s important to use common sense here. Limit the amount of time your child spends in front of any screen.
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