Using devices at any point in the 90 minutes before bedtime more than doubles the risk of a poor night’s sleep.
Even leaving it charging in the corner can have a detrimental effect, possibly because children are subconsciously engaged with them if they know they are within earshot.
Researchers ta Kings College London examined the digital behaviour of 125,000 children across four continents. It’s known from previous studies that around three-quarters of children and adolescents have at least one device in their bedroom at night.
Screen-based media may adversely affect sleep in different ways: psychologically stimulating the brain, delaying or interrupting sleep time, and affecting sleep cycles, physiology and alertness. They effect both the quality and the duration of sleep.
Sleep is undervalued but is an important part of a child’s development. Sleep disturbance in childhood is known to have negative effects including links with mental health issues.
Parents should take responsibility for this and be good role models. Those who never put the phone down themselves (addicted and suffering from FOMO) are acclimatising their children to the idea of always having one to hand.