The report from the Kaiser Family Foundation on media and sleep concludes their review with this statement:
William Dement, a professor at Stanford University and a leading sleep researcher has written, “…my most significant finding is that ignorance is the worst sleep disorder of all.” This review of the literature on sleep and media use among children indicates that while there are some things we do know about media and sleep, there is much more about which we are still ignorant.
It is extremely important to understand that all of the different types of media to which our kids are exposed can cause both measurable effects and other effects that we don’t yet understand.
Think of it this way: we've all seen kids using headsets/earbuds and listening to music for hours. We don’t yet understand the effects of this. When kids isolate themselves via media, they obviously miss out on the sound of the birds and the wind. They don’t hear people talking calmly with each other, nor do they hear the processes of conflict resolution.
All of these sounds are an integral part of the learning experience of human life. What are the effects of just this one form of electronic exposure? We simply don’t know yet.
But we do know, from the Kaiser Family Foundation's excellent report, that we can do plenty to limit television and media exposure at home. And we know that even "passive exposure" brings measured consequences to both child and adult sleep patterns.
So when it's time for meals -- let’s turn off the television, the cell phones, the computers and music players and hand-held electronic gadgets. Maybe put a message on our voicemail saying that we don’t answer the phone during meals.
Let's concentrate on limiting our kids' media exposure. They are guaranteed to get media from multiple outside sources as they grow up, but they'll be healthier, stronger, and smarter if we put a cap on the amount that they get at home.
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7 (KJV)