May 29, 2019

A third of teens sleep with their cellphones

Photo: Godong/UIG via Getty Images

Nearly a third of teens take their phones to bed when they go to sleep, according to a new study from Common Sense Media.

Why it matters: Studies show the importance of sleep to overall health, and suggest that digital devices are interfering with our sleep.

By the numbers:

  • 1 in 3 teens reports waking up at least once per night and checking their phones.
  • 1 in 4 parents — including me — checks their phones at least once per night.
  • A majority of parents (61%) and teens (70%) check their phones in the half hour before bed, despite researchers' recommendations against doing so.
  • More than half of parents (52%) say they spend too much time on their phones. That's up 23 percentage points from 2016.
  • Kids agree. There has been an 11 percentage point increase in children saying their parents spend too much time on the phone (39% today vs. 28% in 2016).
  • By contrast, more teens today think they spend the right amount of time on their phone (47% vs. 29% in 2016).

What they're saying:"If technology harms our health and relationships, we need to change our ways. It's as simple as that," Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer told Axios.

  • Steyer, whose nonprofit organization focuses on kids' interaction with media, said he was particularly alarmed by the number of people taking their phones to bed.
  • "It is really troubling because we all know that devices are taking up too much of our time and that it is not healthy, yet we cannot even leave them outside of our bedrooms when we go to sleep," he said. "This is alarming."

Editor's note: This piece was corrected to show children who thought their parents spent too much time on phone in 2016 was 28%.

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