On average, kids spend up to 53 hours a week using electronic devices. That’s more time than kids spend in school each week! Millions of children in our generation have their own electronics. It’s just a part of our lifestyle.
That doesn’t mean electronics always have a positive impact on kids’ lives, though. When kids spend too much time on their electronic devices, their sleep habits, health and behavior are affected negatively.
So many children have electronic devices in their rooms at night, but is it really that bad?
According to Dr. Creighton from Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, “Nearly 3 out of 4 children [72%] between the ages of 6 and 17 have at least one electronic device in their bedrooms while sleeping.”
As you can see, many kids have screens on in their rooms at night, but what’s the big deal? The kids end up not getting the right amount of sleep and aren’t fully alert the next day. That’s the big deal!
According to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, “Children who leave those electronic devices on at night sleep less — up to one hour less on average per night.”
In order for kids to get a good night’s sleep, they shouldn’t have their electronics on in their rooms. One main reason for all of this is due to the light from the electronics. For example, according to Dr. Creighton, “Studies show that the light from backlit electronics (like tablets, smartphones and video games) can disrupt our ability to fall — and stay — asleep.”
Take it from a pediatric doctor, when kids are always on their seemingly “fun and good” electronic devices, they actually have trouble falling and staying asleep at night.
When kids have screens in their room and keep them on at night, kids don’t get the right amount of sleep they need!
Kids don’t just lose sleep, but they also often don’t eat right and don’t get enough physical activity when they spend too much time on electronics. What’s the big deal? Eating right and getting physical activity are especially important for growing kids, but most of them aren’t active enough. Kids can become obese due to excessive amounts of time on their electronic devices. That’s the big deal! The article “The Good and Bad Effects of TV on Children,” states that “Kids are not running, jumping, or doing activities that burn calories and increase metabolism. Obese kids, unless they change their habits, tend to be obese adults.”
When kids just sit around spending time on their screens they are not only being sedentary, but they are also being influenced by what they see on their screens. Most of the commercials or ads advertise junk food. According to the article “Screen Time and Children” from Medline Plus, “TV commercials and other screen ads can lead to unhealthy food choices. Most of the time, the foods in ads that are aimed at kids are high in sugar, salt or fats.” When kids see the ads to eat unhealthy food, they think it’s okay to eat them. When kids spend too much time on electronics, they can become obese from eating excessive amounts of sugar, salt and fats and not getting enough physical activity.
Kids can also have behavior problems when they spend too much time on electronics. What’s the big deal? Kids don’t always learn how to interact with people and how to get the most out of their life experiences. That’s the big deal!
According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, “Elementary students who spend more than two hours a day watching TV or using a computer are more likely to have emotional, social, and attention problems. Exposure to video games is also linked with an increased risk of attention problems in children.” Behavior problems can ruin kids’ life experiences at school, in sports, and with friends.
Many kids love to use electronic devices for entertainment, games, help or answers to their questions, so what’s the big deal? While electronics may be helpful at times, there are too many negative effects from spending excessive amounts of time on electronics. Too much time spent on electronic devices negatively impacts children’s sleep habits, health and behavior. That’s the big deal!