In a new study done by researchers at the University of Alberta, as reported by Redorbit, the more electronic devices children have in their bedrooms, the more difficulty they have in school. Also, says Mail Online reporting on the same research study, because of electronic device use, children tended to get less sleep and more of them were found to be obese.
To find out how electronic devices such as television sets, DVR machines, electronic tablet computers, etc, are affecting children, the researchers analyzed the results of nationwide Canadian survey called the REAL Kids Alberta survey, where 3,400 children between the ages of 9 and 11 and who were all in fifth grade were asked a multitude of questions, some of which centered on their sleeping habits, their school performance, the number of electronic devices in their bedrooms, and how much and when they were used.
Interestingly, the researchers found that the majority of children who had such devices in their bedroom, reported using them past their bedtime, which meant they did so while their parents were unaware of their activity. Of those children who did so, the vast majority reported feeling sleepy while in school or flat out stated they didn’t get enough sleep at night due to watching movies or chatting online with friends.
Specifically, the researchers found that 21 percent of children reported having a computer in their room, and 17 percent said they had a phone. Of those that reported having at least one electronic device, half reported having at least two, and 5 percent reported having three or more.
In correlating the survey results, the researchers found that children with at least one electronic device were nearly one and a half times as likely to be overweight or obese compared to kids with no devices in their rooms after bedtime. For kids with three or more devices, the rate jumped to over two and a half times, suggesting that the use of electronic devices either leads to overweight children or that the reverse is true.
The researchers also found that kids that did not have any electronic devices in their room reported engaging in significantly more physical activities during the day, and far fewer problems paying attention in class. They also noted that the more sleep problems reported by the children, the lower their test scores.
The researchers conclude by suggesting that their research shows very clearly that electronic device use after bedtime is negatively impacting children and because of that, parents should remove them from the bedroom before children head off to bed for the night.