Sleeping with a phone: Study shows we’re taking devices to bed

A new study shows how we can’t put down our phones.

Artur Debat/Techhnews

Our phones rarely leave our side and a new study from Common Sense Media shows it’s no different overnight.

A third of teens actually sleep with their devices — girls more than boys, according to findings (PDF) in The New Normal: Parents, Teens, Screens, and Sleep in the United States. Parents apparently aren’t better, though, with 62% keeping phones in reach of their bed.

Both teens and parents wake up during the night to check notifications, teens a little more than parents. The study found that parents are more likely to get on their phones because they received a notification or because they couldn’t sleep, while teens got on their phones because they wanted to check social media or they received a notification.

Despite health officials warning not to use phones an hour before bed, 60% of parents and 70% of teens check their phones within 30 minutes of falling asleep at night.

“Parents may feel that it’s too late to take back control once their kids are so attached to their phones and tablets, but with studies linking poor sleep to a number of mental and physical health problems, as well as diminished academic and cognitive performance, I urge parents to consider these findings as a wake-up call that device use might truly impact the health of their children and themselves,” James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, said in the report.

The study found that while both parents and teens feel phones are increasingly distracting, neither seems to think they are the problem. Since 2016, parents reported feeling 18% more addicted to phones but teens said they felt 11% less addicted. The feeling that the “other” was addicted to a device increased for both parties from 2016. 

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