TIME sleep

Kids Are Being Kept Awake by Their Phones Even When They’re Not Using Them

72% of all children have at least one device in their bedroom

Cell phones, tablets and computers are keeping children and teenagers awake at night—even when they’re not being used, new research has found.

The paper, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, found that media devices are contributing to reduced sleep quality and quantity, as well as trouble staying awake the next day. According to the study, 72% of all children and 89% of adolescents have at least one device in their sleep environment, with most of them used near bedtime.

After analyzing hundreds of relevant studies of children and teens aged 6-19, the researchers, led by Dr. Ben Carter, a senior lecturer in biostatistics at King’s College London, found a “strong and consistent association” between the use of technology at bedtime and poor sleeping.

Carter and his colleagues also found that such devices adversely affect sleep even when they are not being used, as their content can be psychologically stimulating and the light they emit can affect the body’s natural timing and alertness.

The harmful association between screen-based devices and children’s and adolescents’ sleep is “a major public health concern,” the paper concludes. “It is imperative that teachers, health care professionals, parents, and children are educated about the damaging influence of device use on sleep.”

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team