Journalist | Mom of Two
How many hours of sleep do your kids get every night?
If we are honest, this simple question can be difficult for many of us to answer. As any parent can tell you, this number easily varies every night depending on our schedules, sickness, or parenting styles. However, knowing the amount of slumber our sons and daughters get is important, because research is telling us that our kids are increasingly becoming sleep deprived.
A lack of rest in children involves more than unsightly puffy eyes, it can also harm our kids’ physically and emotionally. If left unchecked, this deprivation can be severe enough to interfere with their daily activities and hinder their ability to learn. Data is showing that over 87 percent of our teenagers are not getting the recommended eight hours of shut eye every night. To add further insult to injury, 69 percent of our younger children regularly “experience at least one or more sleep problems” during any given week.
In response to this emerging slumberless epidemic, we might spend hours creating ideal sleep environments or perfecting bedtime routines with hopes of lulling our little ones to dreamland early. After all, we want the best for our kids. Unfortunately, all of this work and planning might be wasted, because one simple item in our houses could be derailing all of our best efforts.
The surprising culprit? Technology.
In the past we may have worried about how screentime affects our children, ranging from infants to young adults. We studied the ins-and-outs of popular social media apps, online predators, oversharing, and cyberbullying. Hours have been spent teaching our boys and girls social media etiquette and ways to protect themselves digitally. Afterall, it was the loving thing to do. Unbeknownst to many of us, we may have been overlooking our devices’ abilities when it comes to disrupting our children’s sleep patterns.
This is alarming, because it is almost inevitable that our kids will beg and clamor to play our Smartphones or tablets at some point in the day. In fact, studies from the Kaiser Foundation unearthed that children and teens regularly consume four to five times the amount of recommended technology everyday! When you read numbers like those, it is easy for images of teens bent over cell phones to immediately come to mind. However, researchers have also discovered that 90 percent of today’s children will possess a moderate ability to navigate tablets and other digital technology by the time they are two years old.
As our devices become more prevalent in our lives, we owe it to our sons and daughters to understand the far reaching consequences those glowing screens can have. Thankfully the following infographic helps us understand the impact our child’s screen time has on their quality of sleep:
About Amy Williams
Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety. Follow Amy on Twitter here.