Summer vacation is over, and school recently started back up for children all over the United States. As to be expected, there are kids who are struggling to get up in the morning, and one pediatrician says that screen time is to blame, pointing to the popular battle royale game Fortnite specifically as one reason why kids have sleeping problems.
Dr. Nathan Boonstra from Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, IA spoke to local media outlet and NBC affiliate WHO Channel 13 news about the issue. According to Dr. Boonstra, Fortnite can be addictive, and he has apparently had patients who have been playing the game “well into the night.”
“There are definitely games that are addictive, this summer a lot of kids were playing a lot of Fortnite and playing it well into the night. I heard a lot of stories about that this week as kids were going back to school and coming to see me in clinic.”
To help kids have better sleep, Dr. Boonstra recommends that they aren’t allowed to look at screens (that includes cellphones or televisions) one hour before bed, no screens are kept in the bedroom at all, and that whatever kids are watching on the screens is age appropriate.
In regards to age appropriate content, Dr. Boonstra pointed to kids playing Five Nights at Freddy’s as another reason why they may have trouble sleeping. Five Nights at Freddy’s, for the uninitiated, is a horror game filled with jump scares that has developed a large following from younger audiences, to the point that it’s not uncommon to see school backpacks with the creepy characters on them. According to Boonstra, kids who are scared of games like Five Nights at Freddy’s may find themselves thinking about them at night, and that can also have a negative impact on their sleep.
With the World Health Organization officially classifying game addiction as a mental health disorder earlier this year, the topic of game addiction and its potential impact on children is a hot topic right now. Ultimately, it is up to the parents to regulate how much games their kids are playing, and putting a limit on screen time if it is having a negative impact on their sleep schedule or other aspects of their lives.
Fortnite is out now in early access for iOS, Android, PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.
Source: WHO Channel 13 News