Jul 19, 2013

Should I let my child play computer games at bedtime

Category: Children
Posted By: Renee

Question: Is it wrong to allow my 10-year-old girl to play on her electronics prior to going to bed?   She typically goes up to bed between 8:30 and 9pm and is on a game or instagram for a little while before going to sleep.   Is this bad?

Answer:  There is not really a right or wrong answer to your question, it depends on the circumstances, the child and your own family values.  There are several things to bear in mind however:

The main question is how your daughter is managing.  Does she get to sleep easily after she has finished playing with electronics?  Is she balanced and relaxed during the day and evening?  Are there any other issues you are worried about that might be affected by this?  If she is a happy, calm, well-balanced child with no signs of trouble then the electronics issue is not adversely affecting her.

Young people, especially teenagers who have trouble getting to sleep will often claim that they need electronics in order to get to sleep.  In fact, bright screens, games and anything that requires quick reactions, will increase adrenalin levels and make it harder to get to sleep, but if your daughter is not showing any sign of difficulty getting to sleep then she may be okay with it.

The other thing to bear in mind is that increasingly as a society we are more and more addicted to technology.  Our brains, and particularly those of our children are becoming hardwired to cope with, and eventually crave the constant and instant input of information.  It is wise to help your daughter manage this now before habits form too concretely.

Lastly, if it is every night that your daughter plays before sleep then she may become dependent on this way of going to bed.  I would recommend that at least a couple of days a week you help her to do something else before bed, reading, talking with you, etc.

I hope that helps you make your own decisions on whether it is in her best interests.  It is really for you and her father to decide if it is effecting your daughter adversely.  If it isn’t then it is again your decision as to whether it fits with your family’s values.

Best wishes,

Ryan



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