Study: Smartphones are a Bigger Concern than TV


Kids are spending way too much time in front of a screen. In my day the warnings about the dangers of television were very prevalent. Now the smartphone and gaming console seem to have overtaken it on the parental danger list:


Having a smartphone in a child’s bedroom translates to less sleep, more fatigue, and later bedtimes, according to a new study. Researchers at UC Berkeley found that kids who slept in the same room as a cellphone, smartphone or iPod touch — what they call “small screens” — got almost 21 minutes fewer sleep than those who didn’t. They also went to bed, on average, 37 minutes later than those without phones in their rooms. (Those who slept in the same room as a TV, meanwhile, got only 18 minutes fewer sleep; the TVs were also associated with a 31-minute delay in bedtime.)

In the study of more than 2,000 fourth and seventh graders, published Monday, 54 percent said they slept near a smartphone. “Small screens are especially concerning because they are a portal to social media, videos and other distractions, and they emit notifications that can disrupt sleep,” Dr. Jennifer Falbe, a postdoctoral research fellow at UC Berkely and the lead author of the study, tells Yahoo Parenting. “Parents should keep screen media out of bedrooms, limit screen time, and set a curfew of an hour before bedtime.” 

Falbe says her recommendations are based on the overall literature that excessive screen media can be harmful to children’s health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids spend no more than one to two hours a day on recreational screen time, which Falbe says is a good rule of thumb. 


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2 Responses to “Study: Smartphones are a Bigger Concern than TV”

  1. Christina Says:

    I received my first cellphone (a flip phone) a few years after fourth grade and I could not take my hands, or eyes, off of it. Years ago, having any type of phone was exciting for young children. Although they were not as advanced as the smartphones that are currently available, people were still able to send text messages, play games, and take photos — simple things that were huge distractions. These distractions would follow me to the bedroom; without a doubt, I would sleep much later than before I had my flip phone because my friends and I would be busy messaging each other.
    Also, even without a phone, children can and (most likely) will find ways to postpone their bedtime. They may choose to read a book or play with their siblings and/or toys until they become tired. These activities that have nothing to do with technological devices can most definitely delay children’s bedtime.
    However, going back to the idea of smartphones, I agree that it is a concern because people spend much time on it, especially when they are constantly checking their phones for social media updates and/or emails. However, there is no escaping these devices because technology is expanding rapidly. It has even spread into the classroom! In fact, schools are investing in smartboards, iPads, and laptops for their students to use. Therefore, it can be seen as beneficial for students to have a smartphone because they are learning how to use an advanced technological device and can apply that knowledge to the other devices being used in the classroom. If parents choose to purchase smartphones (and other devices) for their children, they should take into consideration both the pros and cons that come with the investment. Also, they should implement rules to ensure that the device does not become the single, most important thing in the child’s life.

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