Parents Encouraged To Keep Screen Devices Out Of Kids’ Bedrooms At Night Interview with:
“Video Game Addicts” by Michael Bentley is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Marsha Novick, MD

Associate professor of pediatrics and family and community medicine,
Penn State College of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The results of this study solidify some well-established data concerning childhood obesity – namely that children who watch more television and have a more sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have an overweight or obese BMI compared with those who are more active. The survey results highlight some associations between increased technology use and difficulty with sleep quantity in children and adolescents.

The data suggest:

  • ​​Increased technology use at bedtime, namely television, cell phones, video games and computers, is associated with a decrease in the amount of sleep children are getting. These children were more likely to be tired in the morning and less likely to eat breakfast.
  • Specifically, children who reported watching TV or playing video games before bed got an average of 30 minutes less sleep than those who did not, while kids who used their phone or a computer before bed averaged an hour less of sleep than those who did not.
  • The data also suggests that children with overweight or obesity were more likely to have trouble falling asleep and trouble staying asleep than their normal BMI counterparts
  • When children were reported by their parents to use one form of technology at bedtime, they were more likely to use another form of technology as well. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Because technology before bedtime is associated with less sleep, less restful sleep and higher BMIs, parents have the opportunity to promote better sleep, healthy childhood development and mental health by limiting technology for their kids close to bedtime.

Our study’s findings are consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations that parents create boundaries around technology use, such keeping televisions and phones out of bedrooms at night. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Additional research is needed to determine whether multiple devices at bedtime result in greater influences of quantity and quality of sleep in children and adolescents compared to using just one device.

This study looked at 8-17year olds’ patterns of use of technology at bedtime. As a result of this study, future research should focus on the use of technology at bedtime in younger children, who require even more sleep. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This research was supported by the Bedrick Family Medical Student Research Program Award and the Penn State Clinical and Translational Research Institute Thank you for your contribution to the community.


 Caitlyn Fuller, Eric Lehman, Steven Hicks, Marsha B. Novick. Bedtime Use of Technology and Associated Sleep Problems in Children. Global Pediatric Health, 2017; 4: 2333794X1773697 DOI: 1177/2333794X17736972

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions. 

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