Monday, November 1, 2010
Kids' use of electronic media at night
The kids in the study, average age 14½, were all treated at the JFK Medical Center Sleep Laboratory in Edison, N.J. About 77% had trouble falling asleep; others had daytime sleepiness.
And it's no wonder: Turns out they sent an average 34 text messages or e-mails a night, according to the study, to be presented today at the meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Vancouver, British Columbia. Texts were sent anywhere from 10 minutes to four hours after bedtime.
"Across the board, all of the children admitted to using electronic media — texting, computers, video gaming — after lights out," says co-author Peter Polos, a physician at the JFK clinic.
Kids texted an average of four people a night. Electronic media woke them up once a night, when they were texted or called by a friend.
Young people who used the most bedtime media — from cellphones to video games — were more likely to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression and learning problems during the day.
Polos notes that the study has limitations: It can't prove that late-night media use caused problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders. He adds that results may not represent all kids; everyone in the study came to the clinic with a problem.