With the advancement of technology, there are many options to entertain your kids. From PS4s to iPhones to television, kids today are truly spoiled for choice. Even if you are not around, kids have many ways of entertaining themselves through their electronic devices. But studies show that they may be spending too much time in front of a screen and need to sleep more.
A study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health was done to find out the effects of sleep, exercise and screen time on the development of kids. They compiled data from 21 studies across the United States of America over the course of a year. 4,500 kids aged 8-11 years old were studied and the results are concerning.
A worrying statistic is the that the majority of the participants did not meet the recommended guidelines of the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth. They recommend only 2 hours or less spent in front of electronic screens, 9-11 hours of sleep and an hour of physical activity a day for kids aged 8-11 years old.
On average, they spent 3.6 hours a day staring at a screen, only 63 per cent spending 2 hours or less on screens and only half of them had the recommended amount of sleep. Worst of all, 82 per cent did not have enough daily exercise. They found that this was linked to worse cognitive development, such as language ability, memory, and task completion.
“We found that more than two hours of recreational screen time in children was associated with poorer cognitive development,” said lead author Jeremy Walsh, a researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, according to a report in Channel News Asia.
“The more individual recommendations the child met, the better their cognition,” the study concluded, noting that screen time was the most important factor.
That’s not all, lower sleep is also linked to childhood obesity, according to a study published in Pediatrics. The study concluded that sleep quantity and quality is critical to preventing cardiovascular issues in adolescents. Another problem produced by low sleep is type 2 diabetes, according to a different study in Pediatrics.
With the rise in entertainment choices, it is important to be stricter with your kids’ sleep schedule. Even if they are “not sleepy”, it’s still important to be firm. It’s for their own good, after all. It might also be ideal for you to sleep early as well, even if the effects of less sleep are less severe. Not only is it better for your health, but your kids might also follow in your footsteps in developing healthy sleeping habits.
By Muhd Farhan