Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Gadgets Keep Teens Up at Night

Many Teens Who Use Electronic Devices at Night Don't Get Enough Sleep, Study Says
By Caroline Wilbert
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 26, 2009 -- It's not just about turning off your kid’s television anymore.

A new study shows that many teens are not getting adequate sleep, and this deficiency is especially common among teens who use electronic devices -- such as computers, cell phones, and televisions -- at night.

The study, published in Pediatrics, included 100 participants aged 12 to 18 who were in middle school and high school. Participants were recruited during their wellness exam visits at a pediatrics office in suburban Philadelphia. They filled out a questionnaire on their own, while parents filled out a separate form with demographic information.

Each participant was assigned a multitasking index, based on their answers to questions about how much time after 9 p.m. they spent with various electronic devices. The majority of participants used some form of technology in the nighttime hours.

  • 82% reported watching television after 9 p.m.
  • 55% reported being online
  • 44% reported talking on the phone
  • 42% reported listening to an MP3 player
  • 36% reported watching movies
  • 34% reported text messaging
  • 24% reported playing computer games

On average, participants engaged in four technology activities. The average multitasking rating was the equivalent of a teen doing one activity for 5.3 hours or doing four activities for one hour and 20 minutes each.

Researchers found a significant correlation between the multitasking index and sleep. Teens getting eight to 10 hours of sleep per night tended to have a lower multitasking index. Teens with a high multitasking index also drank more caffeine. Of the 85% of adolescents who reported drinking caffeine, 11% reported drinking the equivalent of four espressos a day.

Across the board, only 20% of the adolescents obtained the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep. Those getting inadequate sleep were more likely to fall asleep during class. Although caffeine consumption tended to be lower in the group getting a good night’s sleep, that correlation did not reach statistical significance.

In their conclusion, the researchers call for more study on the complex relationship between teen sleep, caffeine consumption, electronics usage, and early school starts.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd