Study outlines dangers of too much time on touchscreens for toddlers

NZ Herald 15 April 2017
Babies’ sleep and subsequent brain development may be being harmed by the use of iPads and other touchscreen devices, research suggests.

The British study found that every hour infants spent on such devices was linked to 16 minutes less sleep per day.

The research, on more than 700 families, is the first to look at the link between touchscreens and sleep in babies and toddlers.

It found that some toddlers aged 12 to 18 months were spending as much as five hours a day on touchscreen devices. Even babies less than a year old were found to be spending as much as two-and-a-half hours on such gadgets.

Average screen time was far lower, at less than nine minutes for babies aged six to 11 months, rising to 44 minutes for those between 26 and 36 months.

Researchers at Birkbeck, University of London and King’s College London questioned 715 parents about their child’s daily touchscreen use and sleep patterns. They found that babies and toddlers who spent more time using a touchscreen slept less at night and, despite sleeping more during the day, slept for less time overall.

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