A new study, "Media Use and Child Sleep: The Impact of Content, Timing, and Environment,” comes to the conclusion that "screen time" before bed can cause restless nights for preschoolers. The new study was conducted by Michelle Garrison Ph.D., a research scientist at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. The findings were published in the July 2011 issue of Pediatrics.
"A lot of the research had lumped all media use together,” said Michelle Garrison. "Reducing media use altogether is an overwhelming goal for a lot of families. There are healthy media choices that families can be making."
She added that the goal is to shift away from violent content to content that is educational and has social value.
The study found that having any screen time (violent or otherwise) before bedtime seemed to cause sleep problems in young children. Researchers pointed the finger at all kinds of screen time too – from television shows and video games to mobile phone games. Most of the violent screen time for preschoolers came from TV shows intended for older kids, which usually featured some sort of animated or comic violence.
Garrison acknowledged that changing children’s behavior isn’t easy but finding creative ways to do it is important.