Screens are everywhere in the modern world. Screen time means time spent looking at digital screens that come in various shapes and sizes: TVs, smartphones, laptops, personal computers, and tablets.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to self-isolation in the entire world. Because activities have been confined to the house, work from home, online education has become a new normal. Children spend more time staring at screens like TVs, smartphones, and computers.
Children use these devices for fun and educational purposes. Research shows that screen time can take a significant toll on kids’ well-being, including their eyes. Children who spend more time on digital screens are more prone to suffer from myopia and digital eyestrain.
Bear in mind that digital eyestrain and myopia can develop rapidly or eventually. Kids with myopia experience distorted and blurred vision, strained or squinting eyes, and even headaches. In addition, they also suffer from disrupted sleep.
Children may play with the gadgets without realizing the negative impacts on their eyes, leading to eye discomfort and disorders. Keeping your kids engaged in activities away from digital screens is a concern that requires attention from parents.
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Why Limit Screen Time?
Too much screen time can limit the time for real-life learning or interactions between parents and their children. Watching a lot of TV at a young age can cause attention problems and concentration inabilities later in childhood and adulthood.
Having the TV on in the background can substantially disrupt a child’s play. Likewise, increased screen time can impact sleep for children and adults. Exposure to TVs and computer screens can cause negative effects on language learning.
Real-life experiences are the best ways for kids to learn and interact. A growing body of research evidence shows that young children have difficulties transferring new learning from screen to real life.
Likewise, they are less likely to learn language from screens at a young age. Learning at a young age is more effective when your kids experience interactions with people. Blue light emitted from digital screens can cause children severe and chronic health conditions, including stress, depression, anxiety, behavioral problems, bipolar disorder, poor metabolism, and even cancer.
How Much Screen Time for Children?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), parents must not expose their children to digital screens. Ensure your children have limited screen times. Screen time for kids over the age of 2-3 years is no more than one hour.
If your child is between 5 and 18 years old, the WHO recommends parents placing consistent limits on the use of media, including TVs, screen-based games, or the internet. A limited or child-friendly screen time is educational, but it is crucial to ensure appropriate content for the kid’s age group. Here are a few tips:
Maintain Digital Distance
Parents should ensure the screen is at least 20 inches away from their children’s eyes and is slightly below eye level. Maintain moderate brightness of your gadget’s screen. Likewise, adjust the contrast and brightness of your computer screen.
That way, your child will feel comfortable and prevent the risk of blue light exposure. Make sure your child blinks regularly while they are in front of a digital screen. The purpose is to keep your child’s eyes moist and healthy.
Encourage Visual Breaks
Reduce your kid’s risk of eyestrain by encouraging your child to take a break every 20-30 minutes. Ensure your child rests their eyes for at least 20-30 seconds, looking at an object away from the screen.
Not only will this relax your child’s focusing and eye alignment muscles, but it will also reduce the risk of various digital eyestrain symptoms. Experts recommend establishing free times each day, allowing your child to break fixation on digital devices.
That way, you can reduce the risk of eye fatigue and limit exposure to blue light. We recommend using this time to connect as a family. Every parent should encourage their children to take breaks when using screens.
Ensure your child does not put a screen too close to his/her eyes, especially for a prolonged period. Set up your child’s workspace correctly with a chair to promote correct posture. Your child must place their feet flat on the floor.
Wear Blue Light Glasses
When you keep an eye on your children, you can teach them how to use digital screens properly without exposing their eyes to harmful blue light. Watching your children while using digital devices allows you to keep a watch on when they take breaks and when to put the screen down.
Blue light glasses are essential for your children because they block shorter wavelengths of visible light and protect your child’s delicate eye structures, including retinal cells. If your child has developed vision problems, you can provide him with protective eyewear.
However, regular eyeglasses don’t work if your child tends to use a digital screen frequently. Blue light glasses have specialized tinted lenses that filter the blue light generated from screens.
Make sure you consult with your ophthalmologist before investing in blue light glasses for your child. Moreover, blue light glasses offer a wide range of health benefits, such as improved eyesight, fewer risks of blue light exposure, improved sleep patterns, and prevention of chronic health conditions.
Research shows that children’s eyesight is more vulnerable to higher energy visible light radiations. Blue light has shorter wavelengths ranging between 400nm and 500nm that can penetrate your child’s eyes and damage internal structures, including cornea, lens, and retina.
Similarly, it can cause other health conditions. Digital devices empower your children to learn incredible things. However, these devices pose an inherent threat to their eyes and brain.
When you take these simple measures, you can keep your tech-savvy kid seeing clearly and comfortably. Remember, supervision combined with blue light glasses for screen time is essential for your child’s eye health and brain function.