My son got a new electronic device with all his Christmas loot. It's like a Fitbit for kids, so it tracks his physical activity throughout the day and gives him rewards and games to play. It's a great little device and he is excited about it.
My favorite part of the device is that I can turn it off. Not just with the off switch, but by setting the times that he is at school or should be asleep, ensuring that he won't be able to play with it when he is supposed to be focused on something else.
I appreciate companies who have learned that parents want to monitor electronic device use throughout the day.
But what about those devices that parents can't put restrictions on through their settings? Like televisions and smartphones. The journal Pediatrics has published a study indicating that children with smartphones in their room sleep less at night. The study focused on children in fourth and seventh grades and found that children who slept near smartphones got 21 minutes less sleep than those who slept in a smartphone-free bedroom. (For comparison: Children with televisions in their bedrooms got 18 minutes less sleep than those in TV-free bedrooms.)
The study also indicated that there may be a relationship between devices and bedtimes. Those with smartphones and televisions in their rooms had later bedtimes (by over a half hour) than other children.
So, let's forget about the television part of the study...here's my question: Why are smartphones in children's rooms? Yes, if your child has a smartphone, than ideally, they should be responsible enough to turn it off at night, but we know how tempting phones are. I know lots of parents who make children hand them over at bedtime and give them back in the morning. Giving smartphones a curfew makes sense to me: Blue light has already been shown to mess with our melatonin levels, so remove it from the equation and everyone sleeps better.
Of course, it's hard to set a good example for our children, when parents take their phones to bed with them. But that is a post for another day.
What time do you put electronic devices to bed at night? Share with me in the comments.