Digital technology and sleep routines in daily life

About the project

This project is a first step to gather rich qualitative data about technology use in the home and will identify the ways in which this technology use fits within household routines, especially sleep routines for children during the first years of formal schooling.

Sleep has direct consequences for learning, overall health, and emotional control and wellbeing in children. The interactions, family choices, and behaviours around technology and sleep are not well known, despite evidence of strong cross-sectional associations. Due to the speed at which technology has been advancing in recent years, the subsequent proliferation of devices available, and the near-ubiquitous use of technology, prior understandings of the use of digital technologies in the home are likely to be outdated.

This project employs a mixed methodology design, which includes an online survey and virtual interview. The two components can both be completed in the comfort of the participant’s home, or location of their choice, and at a time of their choosing.

Parents of children aged 5 to 8 years will (1) complete a brief Demographic Survey, and then (2) participate in a 1-hour in-depth virtual interview where they will be asked to describe their child’s routine during the previous evening. During the interview a novel graphical elicitation technique will be used to visually display the participant’s house plan and icons of possible elements of a child’s routine, to create a fun and interactive experience.

The data collected will be analysed to identify key components of primary school children’s bedtime routines, the integration of technology into their lives, and uncover the interplay of technology and sleep. The analysis will focus on getting a deeper understanding of: what activities are being done, where in the house, with which other people, and what technology is being used.

Project aims:

  • gather rich qualitative data about children’s routines and technology use in the home
  • identify the ways in which technology is incorporated in household routines, especially sleep routines
  • identify social interactions that provide opportunities to support physical and emotional health and wellbeing


Contact person – Janelle MacKenzie Contact person – Laetitia Coles