Children with TVs in their rooms sleep less: study
CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - Parents refusing to let their children have a television or computer in their bedroom can now cite an Israeli study showing these devices make youngsters sleep less during the school-year.
A joint study by the University of Haifa and Jezreel Valley College found that middle school children with a TV or computer in their room went to sleep half an hour later on average while still waking up at the same time.
They were found to also watch an hour more of TV a day and spend an hour longer on their computer, playing more computer games and surfing the Internet more than their peers.
The research focused on 444 middle school pupils with an average age of 14 who were asked about their sleep habits, use of computer and television, and their eating habits.
The study participants reported an average bedtime of 11.04 p.m. and wake-up time of 6.45 a.m. during the week but at the weekends the average bedtime was 1.45 a.m. and the wake-up much later at 11.30 a.m.
Those with TVs and computers in their room went to sleep 30 minutes later than the average.
Middle school pupils were found to watch a daily average of two hours and 40 minutes of TV during the weekdays and use their computer for three hours and 45 minutes.
But those with a TV in their room watch an hour more and those with their own computer use it an hour more than their peers.
A fifth of pupils said they ate in front of the TV set on a regular basis, while 70 percent said they did occasionally.
Computers were considered to be a less attractive eating place, with only 10 percent eating in front of the computer on a regular basis and 40 percent occasionally.
"There is a direct connection between exposure to the media and eating in front of the TV or computer; the more a child watches television or uses the computer, the greater the chance he will eat in front of the screen," said the researchers.
(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Miral Fahmy)
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