Texting, Video Gaming Especially Bad for Teen’s Sleep

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.

Any type of time spent looking at screens before bed is bad for kids’ sleep, but new research shows that “interactive” screen time — texting and video games, for example — is especially harmful.

The effects of interactive screen time on sleep might not even be restricted to bedtime — researchers found the total time per day spent texting/gaming mattered, too.

For each hour during the day that teens played video games beyond their usual amount, sleep that evening was delayed by 10 minutes, said a team from Pennsylvania State University.

In the study, the Penn State researchers used surveys to track the daytime “screen activities” of 475 adolescents. Included in those activities was email, texting, instant messaging or messaging via social media. Also included were video gaming (an interactive activity), plus more “passive” pursuits such as surfing the internet or watching TV or online videos.

The study found teens spend a lot of time communicating with friends: About two hours a day emailing, texting, instant messaging, on average.

They also spent, on average, about 1.3 hours per day playing video games, and 1.7 hours per day passively watching TV or videos.

In terms of the hour before bedtime, 77% of the adolescents were involved with “interactive” media (texting, video games and the like) while 69% watched TV or movies, according to the researchers.

Kids got an average 7.8 hours of sleep per night, the study found.

Interactive screen time appeared to be more detrimental to slumber than passive watching, Reichenberger’s group found.

For each hour they texted, messaged or gamed during the day, adolescents fell asleep about 11 minutes later. If these interactive activities occurred in the hour before bed, they got to sleep 30 minutes later, on average.

However, more passive watching of TV or online videos appeared to have little impact on the timing of kids’ sleep.

The findings were published in The Journal of Adolescent Health.

Source: HealthDay

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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