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Increased Lack of Sleep in Teens and Adults Attributed to Mobile Devices, Study Shows

Although a number of health organizations recommend against mobile devices in the bedroom, Common Sense Media’s recent study found that nearly 70% of teens take their devices to bed.

Wallace Ting | @TingWallace
August 7,  2019
Education News

A good night’s rest has many lasting benefits: increased concentration and productivity, a lower risk for obesity, maximized athletic performance, and more. Although the science of sleep is still an ongoing endeavor by researchers, the basics are clear: uninterrupted, deep rest is a critical component to both physical and mental health.

A new study by Common Sense MediaScreens and Sleep – The New Normal: Parents, Teens, Screens, and Sleep in the United States, has found that our important need for sleep is being displaced by an increasingly ubiquitous accessory: mobile devices.

Over 60% of parents keep their mobile device within reach at night, which can result in interrupted sleep due to constant revision of their devices.

In a survey of 1000 parents and their teenage children, the study revealed an increased exposure to mobile devices in both groups that threatens to uproot sleep patterns, increase distractibility, and affect personal relationships. Specifically, the results of the survey found that 62% of parents keep their device within reach of the bed while 29% of teens go so far as to sleep with their device in bed. Having a mobile device within such close proximity naturally leads to a constant revision and checking of the device, with a third of teens and a quarter of parents reporting that they wake up at least once a night to check their device. Parents and teens also reported a higher level of distraction, as over 50% of each group indicated that they are distracted by their device at least once a day.

According to the study, 38% of teens feel that their parents are addicted to their device, which represents a 10 point increase from three years ago. Given this upward trend, it is somewhat surprising that most parents and teens believe that the use of mobile devices has had no impact on their relationships with each other. However, teenagers who believe that their parents are addicted to a device are 18 points more likely to assert that their parent’s behavior has had a negative effect on their relationship.

An increasing number of teenagers who feel that their parents are addicted to their mobile devices also report a negative effect on their relationship with their parents.

The majority of recent studies and research appear to signal an increasing trend in both mobile device usage. While these devices have undoubtedly allowed us to remain connected and be more productive, the results of this survey might be telling us something that we should all perhaps try every now and then: turn our devices off and get a good night’s sleep.

Dr. Wallace Ting is originally from Dallas, Texas and began his career in education as a public school mathematics teacher in Texas and New York City (as part of the NYC Teaching Fellows program). He has also worked in international education for a total of 10 years as a Principal, Deputy Director, and Director in Guatemala, Colombia, and Nigeria. Currently, Dr. Ting resides in Orlando, Florida with his young son, Phillip and enjoys playing tennis, camping, and hiking.

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