When it comes to having phones in the bedroom, every parent seems to have their take on the matter. Some take a laid-back approach, while others follow a strict bedtime routine. We understand that it can be challenging for parents to figure out what’s best for their child, especially with so many conflicting opinions out there. That’s why we’ve gathered research on the effects of kids having phones in their bedrooms — and why it’s likely a good idea to steer clear of it.

Blue Light Is the Enemy of Good Sleep

a kid working with phone

Have you ever found your kid constantly saying, “I’m so tired”? Well, it might be worth checking out their bedtime routine. According to a study, kids who use their phones before bedtime are more likely to experience poor sleep quality compared to those who avoid screens altogether. Experts have identified a chemical-level phenomenon in our brains that explains this connection. Let’s dive into a quick science lesson!

Sleep is crucial for our overall health, especially for growing kids. With their brains developing rapidly, a good night’s sleep is essential to keep up with the growth. Our brains naturally produce melatonin, a sleep hormone that signals the body to rest. However, here’s the catch – our phones, tablets, and TVs emit blue light, which hinders melatonin production. Without sufficient melatonin, it takes our bodies twice as long to fall asleep. Many sleep experts recommend putting away all screens at least two hours before bedtime to allow for proper melatonin production.

Imagine leaving your kid alone on a bustling street corner in the dead of night and telling them, “Okay, be safe and don’t talk to anyone! I’ll be back in the morning!” Chances are, you would never consider doing that, right? Unfortunately, the reality isn’t too far off when kids have unrestricted access to the internet in their rooms.

We’ve all heard about the well-known dangers of the internet: cyberbullying, explicit content, predators, violent and disturbing material, and more. The risk of your kid encountering these threats increases when they have unsupervised access. Kids don’t even have to actively search for these things to find themselves in unsettling situations—sometimes, it’s less about trusting your kid and more about not trusting the world on the other side of the screen.

Stuck in the Screen Time Loop: Breaking Free from the Endless Cycle

Discoveries from the University of Oregon shed light on a fascinating consequence of using phones in the bedroom. Initially, they confirmed the connection to poor sleep, as we might expect. However, they unraveled a “bidirectional” effect, indicating that inadequate sleep specifically triggers increased phone usage at night. While this may seem evident, it sets the stage for an unending cycle where poor sleep is replaced by more screen time. When sleep isn’t happening smoothly, why not indulge in a bit of Instagram scrolling? And so, the cycle persists.

How To Start A Healthier Bedtime Routine

So now it’s problem-solving time. If your kids have already started the habit of keeping their phones in their rooms, it’s no sweat! You can still implement changes now that help guide your family to a new normal.

We suggest starting with an honest conversation. Share with your kids what you’ve learned and why you think this is necessary. Consider a tech contract that includes the bedtime routine you think is best. And then, slowly but surely, make changes and encourage this healthier nighttime routine.

And the best news is that you don’t have to do it alone! Pinardin wants to partner with you to help your family create healthy screen time boundaries. Our screen time feature allows parents to set free time, school time, and bedtime routines, so your kid only has access to what you think is appropriate for that time of day.