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Apr 18, 2017 02:03 PM EDT

Gadgets Exposure Reduces Sleep Of Toddlers, University of London Study Finds

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Toddlers’ Gadget Exposure Linked to Less Sleep; But Researchers Say ‘Not to Worry’
Every new parent’s concern is the brain development of their child and University of London’s new study seems to confirm a fear about brain development affected by smartphones and tablets exposure. But researchers say parents should not be worried at all.
(Photo : Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

University of London's recent study reveals that toddlers that are gadget exposed have less hours of sleep compared to those who aren't. Toddlers who spend time with smartphones or tablets have 15 minutes less sleep compared to toddlers who do not. But, according to researchers, parents shouldn't be too worried about it.

The University of London study, which was published in Scientific Reports, says that every hour spent on gadgets every day translates to 15 minutes less sleep, BBC reported. The offset to that is, toddlers who are exposed to gadgets or spend time with smartphones or tablets have better motor skills than those who don't.

The experts say their study is very timely. Although it shows the adverse effects of spending time on gadgets, parents shouldn't really be too worried as this is the first time that toddler sleep and gadget exposure have been linked together, Engadget reported. It's too early to make proclamations banning gadgets on toddlers.

Moreover, the reduced amount of sleep isn't really a massive amount, especially when the child sleeps at 10-12 hours a day. For example, if the child's been exposed to a gadget for 25 minutes, he or she will sleep 6 minutes less than those who are not exposed to gadgets.

But this study will significantly be the cause of worry for parents especially because getting enough hours of sleep is crucial in brain development. This is according to Dr. Tim Smith who also says the brain's neuroplasticity, which is what is responsible in helping form new connections, is at its highest during infancy. Getting less hours of sleep will affect the formation of neurosplasticity.

If parents are torn whether or not to expose their toddlers to gadgets, a good recourse would be exposing them to physical toys and activities. The American Pediatrics Association recommends that children be exposed to gadgets only an hour per day. This is an advice which is also perfect for parents.

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