Screen time for kids can be a hotly debated topic, and now research is throwing another hook into the ring. While screen time has already been linked to sleep issues in kids, a new study suggests that babies and toddlers who specifically use touchscreens sleep less.
The study conducted by researchers at the Birbeck University in London is the first to take a look at the connection between touchscreen use, as opposed to traditional screen time from televisions, and sleep in infants and toddlers. The team collected data from 715 parents and their children on sleep patterns and touchscreen use and found that babies and toddlers (ages six months to three years) who spent more time using a touchscreen slept less at night. They also found that despite sleeping more during the day, those kids slept less overall, losing an average of 16 minutes of sleep a day, and took longer to fall asleep.
It’s important to note that the study is the first of its kind and uses a small sample size, so more research is needed. Dr Tim Smith from Birkbeck, said: “These results indicate that the popularity and accessibility of touchscreen devices has led to high levels of usage by babies and toddlers, and this is associated with reduced sleep. 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.”
Does this study make you feel differently about letting your toddler using a touchscreen? Share your thoughts in the comments.