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Study on Ipads, Touchscreen Devices: Baby's Sleep And Brain Development Could Be Affected [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 14, 2017 10:04 AM EDT
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A UK study revealed that the use of electronic devices such as Ipad could affect a baby's sleep and brain development. It reduces their bed time by up to 16 minutes for every hour they interact with these gadgets.

Ipad and touchscreen devices were shown to help improve the motor skills of babies and toddlers faster than their peers who do not. In an earlier study by the team from Birkbeck, University of London and King's College, young children who interacted with tasks in these devices were able to play with building blocks better. However, the new research suggested it may have a negative impact on a baby's sleep and brain development.

Based on the analysis of 715 parents' reports, the sleep patterns of their children were affected by touchscreen device use. They have more difficulty falling asleep and spent 16 minutes less time sleeping for every hour of use. Overall, 75 percent of children between the ages 6 months and 3 years use touchscreen devices, the Telegraph reported.

Earlier research demonstrated how the light emitted by these gadgets affected adults' sleep patterns and this could be the case with toddlers as well, the researchers explained. Dr. Tim Smith, one of the investigators added that it is not natural to be exposed to this light at night and it could be causing lower melatonin levels.

But he said that there could be other explanation for the findings-- hyperactivity, for example. Even so, experts do not propose that children be not allowed to use smartphones or Ipads altogether. As Anna Joyce of Coventry University pointed out, it was also shown to help develop children's cognitive and motor skills.

She stressed though that getting the right amount of sleep is linked to better cognitive skills in young children, according to the Independent.

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