A recent study by BBC suggests that toddlers who use a touchscreen sleep slightly less than those that don’t. The study suggests that for every hour a toddler spent on a tablet they lost 15 minutes of sleep. On the bright side, it is believed that toddlers who use touchscreens develop fine motor skills quicker (BBC News).
While toddlers do tend to sleep more, roughly 10-20 hours a day, the effect is still worthy of notice. Every minute is important because there are health and developmental benefits of sleep. The studies on this are new, and Dr. Tim Smith, one of the researchers, suggested that there may be a link between the touchscreens and sleep problems. Like any good scientist will say, more research is needed, and particularly in a new area such as this (BBC News).
So, what were the recommendations on tablet use by toddlers? Cognitive developmental researcher, Dr. Anna Joyce, suggests that simply limiting touchscreen use before bed may be a simple solution. Much as a parent may limit TV time, it is also recommended to limit screen time with a tablet or phone. Until more is known, she sees no reason to ban touchscreens completely (BBC News).
For now, there’s no need to lose sleep over the matter.
Gallagher, James. “‘Touchscreen-toddlers’ sleep less, researchers say.” BBC News: Health and science reporter, 13 April 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39588453. Accessed 3 Aug. 2017.