Screens at night bad for sleep
Monitoring screen-time is a modern parents’ nightmare.
Anyone who has tried to get grizzly, overtired kids ready for school, or whose teenager throws back coffees before class knows that some young people don’t get enough sleep.
While putting your phone or laptop away earlier might sound like common sense, school kids are staying up late doing homework - or on social media - until the small hours.
A recent international study found that one in six Kiwi 15-year-olds spends more than six hours a day online. The Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA) tested 540,000 15-yearolds on their education performance, including 4453 in New Zealand.
PISA’s student wellbeing report from 2015, published on Thursday, showed that Kiwi 15-yearolds were classed as ‘extreme’ internet users. Kiwi teens reported being online for an average of 163 minutes, outside school hours, each weekday, up from 98 minutes in 2012.
The PISA study stated that extreme internet use - more than six hours per day - had a negative relationship with students’ life satisfaction and engagement at school.
Screens are not just delaying bed times - one in four ‘extreme’ internet users reported being late for school in the two weeks prior to the survey.
A 2016 ASG and Monash University survey of 800 New Zealand parents found that 55 per cent felt their children spent too much time in front of a screen, and 48 per cent struggled to limit their child’s use of digital devices.
Published data on sleep in New Zealand is limited but growing, PhD student at Massey University’s Sleep/Wake Centre, Dee Muller said.
Sleep studies indicate children with screens in their bedrooms went to bed later, slept less on school nights, and had higher scores of sleep disturbance, she said.
Muller said the rise of screen-based media and portable device use - particularly in bed - poses a challenge for young people to get sufficient, good quality, consistent sleep. Her advice to parents? ‘‘Consider limiting the accessibility and use of technology particularly at night time.’’
A wellbeing report shows Kiwi 15-year-olds were ‘extreme’ internet users.