It’s no secret that smartphones, tablets or touchscreens are in almost every home and young children play with them.
Now, researchers have found that every hour a toddler spends on a touchscreen could lead to 15 minutes less sleep each day, according to a BCC News article.
Researchers at Birkbeck, University of London, surveyed 715 parents of children under the age of 3 and asked how often their child played with a smartphone or tablet and how well they slept.
The scientists found that 75% of the toddlers used a touchscreen daily. (Fifty-one percent of those were between 6 months old and 11 months old; 92% were between 25 months old and 36 months old). Those who played with the devices slept more during the day and less at night, the article notes. The total sleep loss equaled 15 minutes per one hour of touchscreen time.
“It isn’t a massive amount when you’re sleeping 10 to 12 hours a day in total, but every minute matters in young development because of the benefits of sleep,” says researcher Tim Smith.
On a positive note, children who interact with touchscreens develop fine motor skills more quickly.
Experts say they wouldn’t lose sleep over the findings but suggest parents limit screen time to the recommended amount of time children should spend in front of a television.