Staggering new data has revealed the scale of mobile phone obsession in children, with nearly a third of eight to 11 year old’s confessing to sending messages late at night.
Based on questions to a quarter of a million Australian children, the Sleep Health study found that nearly one third of pre-adolescent children, and half of early adolescent children admitted to text messages or calls late at night.
About a third of the younger children and almost 40 per cent of the early teens say they rarely get eight hours of sleep a night.
University of South Australia Professor Kurt Lushington said it was important to have screen time boundaries in place for children of all ages.
“If you look at how much they actually sleep on school holidays… it probably gives you a good rule for how much they need,” he said.
Susan, a Melbourne mum to two sons aged 8 and 11, said she ensures that screens are not used during late hours of the night.
“It’s critical, if you don’t get sleep… you can’t function. I can’t function… they can’t function,” she said.
“The boys don’t have phones yet. They’re a bit young.”
“We keep them away after dinner… as much as possible.”
Experts say one of the big concerns with the growing screen addiction and poor sleep is the impact it can have on concentration at school.
That’s why they’re suggesting even educators have a role to play in promoting healthy sleep.
“It’s a combined thing I think parents, schools, media and the community at large play a factor,” Professor Lushington said.