The associate director of the Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia provided context on the ever-expanding world of technology and the harmful effects it can have on children’s sleep. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]
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"Put all your screens to bed before you head to bed—and parents need to model that, too. Honestly, all of us practitioners need to do that, too. When we’re answering emails in the middle of the night, we’re modeling to the parents that that’s OK. We’re family, we should be modeling those good sleep habits."
In the past decade, smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices have become common products in family households, with exposure to these technologies beginning at even earlier stages. A March 2020 survey of children aged 11 years and younger showed that 17% of children had their own smartphone, with one-third of the parents reporting they got the phone between ages 5 and 8 years. The medical community, namely sleep experts, believe that these technologies pose as a threat for the quality of sleep for children and adolescents.
To date, literature has shown that poor sleep quality and/or quantity in children is associated with several problems, including academic, behavioral, developmental, and social difficulties, as well as weight abnormalities, among others. Typically, children and adults alike are drawn to their phone before bed, which may lead to complications. To understand more about the negative impacts the expansion of technology has had on sleep, NeurologyLive® sat down with Jodi A. Mindell, PhD. Mindell, associate director of the Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, discussed the brain changes from the blue light from these devices, how parents should monitor phone usage, and why everyone—including clinicians and parents—should be setting an example.