Monday, April 4, 2016

Over 1/2 of Parents Keep Digital Devices Out of Kids' Bedrooms Overnight

Numerous studies and research have shown that allowing electronic devices in bedrooms overnight has negative effects on children's health and wellbeing. A quick search will lead you to many of the most recent reports. Most notability, children don't sleep as well when they stay up late and/or wake up during the night to use their devices, check social media, text and Snapchat, etc.  

February 2016 Grade 5-12 Parent Survey
As part of our work in Minnetonka to help educate parents and establish community norms, we recently randomly sampled our grade 5-12 students' parents and asked them a number of questions related to technology use at home. 528 parents completed the survey. We asked them "Does your child keep an iPad, cellphone, or other personal technology in their bedroom overnight?" (You can see last week's post with the answers and details to the question "What's the best age for a kid to get a cellphone with Internet access?" here.)

Over half, 55.4%, of parents stated they keep technology out of their kids' bedrooms overnight.

This is a sizable increase from the results on last year's survey when 43.9% of parents surveyed stated that they kept devices out of their kids' bedrooms at night. 
38% of parents of 9-12 grade students keep devices out of bedrooms overnight.
Furthermore, you might assume that this only is the elementary or middle school parents who do this. However, when you break the data down and just look at high school parents, 38% of our parents of current 9-12 grade students keep devices out of bedrooms overnight. This number has also increased from last year's survey when 32.7% of 9-12 parents responded that they keep devices out of their kids' bedrooms.

Families are encouraged to keep the iPad and other
technology in a central location to charge overnight.
We have been actively educating the parents of students in our 1:1 iPad program and advising them to keep all electronic devices out of their children's bedrooms since the program began over five years ago.  The following information has appeared on our parent handouts and Parent Guide website about our 1:1 Program:

Put the iPad to bed, but not in the bedroom
Parenting experts suggest parking all technology devices, from cell phones to iPads, in a common spot overnight to discourage late night, unmonitored use and sleep disruption. Don’t allow your child to sleep with the iPad, laptop or cell phone. Remember to model appropriate use and balance of technology in your own life, too!

As mentioned last week, sometimes our kids tell us that everyone else else gets to do something except them, such as keep their phone in their room overnight. 

"My phone is my alarm clock."

Cellphones at our house are kept out of
bedrooms overnight, even parents' phones. 
"I need it for my alarm clock" is what my own high school daughter tells me even though she has a clock radio. Despite this request, as well as statements about her friends whose parents do allow technology in bedrooms overnight, we don't. This survey data helps parents understand that not every other parent allows technology in bedrooms overnight. It is reassuring to know you're not alone in setting up guidelines for technology use. Our children will be out from under our roof soon enough, especially our high school aged kids. We can help them get a restful night's sleep at our homes now and help them create some great habits for their future at the same time.

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