Touchscreen usage 'leads to sleep disruption for babies and toddlers'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

The use of touchscreen devices among babies and toddlers has been associated with a greater risk of sleep problems.

Researchers at Birkbeck, University of London and King's College London spoke to 715 parents and found that babies and toddlers who spent more time using a touchscreen slept less at night and, despite sleeping more during the day, got less sleep overall, as well as taking longer to fall asleep.

“Babies and toddlers who frequently use touchscreens generally get less sleep, according to a new study.“

For every additional hour of touchscreen use during the day, children were sleeping for nearly 16 minutes less in each 24-hour period, potentially impacting their health and cognitive development.

This is an important concern, as 2014 research indicated that 71 percent of families owned a touchscreen device, with 75 percent of toddlers belonging to the families participating in the study using a touchscreen on a daily basis, increasing from 51 percent at six to 11 months to 92 percent at 25 to 36 months.

Dr Tim Smith from Birkbeck said: "Future research is now needed to build on this initial study to try and understand whether touchscreen use is causing sleep problems and how types of use may mitigate these risks."

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