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Children’s Media Use and Sleep Problems: Issues and Unanswered Questions

Research shows that most children and adolescents do not get enough high-quality sleep, and that their sleep times appear to have declined over the last two decades. Coinciding with this trend has been the rise in popularity of new media forms including the Internet, video games, cell phones and DVDs. Because of the immediacy and interactivity of these new technologies, young people are using media at times and in ways that might interfere with sleep quantity and quality.

This research brief examines different aspects of how media use may impact sleep. It reviews and summarizes the limited body of research on this topic, including studies on whether media use directly displaces sleep, and how media content can have either an exciting or calming effect on children. The brief also highlights key unanswered questions that emerge from the prior studies on children’s media use and sleep.

Issue Brief (.pdf)