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Late Night Phone Use Means More Than Sleepy Teens

August 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — According to Pew Research Center, 95 percent of teens own or have access to a smartphone in 2018; a 22-percentage-point increase from the 73 percent of teens who had access in 2015. But as this phone use increases, some dangerous effects may be increasing as well.

The average teen is most likely scrolling, swiping, and snapping most hours of the day. And while cell phones are a great way to stay connected with friends, a study by Murdoch University in Australia found that late-night phone use is not harmless. When over 1,000 teens aged 13 to 16 were examined, researchers found that as phone use increased, worse sleep increased too! This sleep loss led to depressed mood, poorer self-esteem, behavior problems like acting out, and difficulty coping with life. So what can parents do?

The study authors recommend setting a curfew for phone use and monitoring daytime phone use as well. Have a conversation to make sure your teen understands the effects of losing sleep and teach them skills that they can use later in life, such as using sleep tracking apps to monitor their sleep.

Although the study included both girls and boys, girls reported more nighttime phone use at age 13, so having a curfew may be especially important for young girls.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Writer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.