Do you know why it’s important to switch off lights at night to protect yourself from blue light? Humans have altered their nighttime environment in less than 100 years, putting their health at risk. Most people, including children, spend their nights bathed in blue light due to the fast growth of blue light emitted from digital devices.
Basking blue light at night is not a natural process, meaning it can take a massive toll on your eyes and overall health. Scientists and researchers have begun to understand the harmful effects of this rapid change in the environment. A growing body of research evidence shows that blue light at night can cause adverse effects on human health.
Limit the amount of blue light your children take in at night
Exposure to blue light at night is harmful because it disrupts your circadian rhythms. The problem is even more complex for children because they experience significant melatonin production disturbances.
Unfortunately, LEDs used for outdoor lighting and computer screens, laptops, TV, and other electronic display devices create abundant blue light. That’s why it is crucial to switch off the lights at night or use light bulbs that emit white light with no more than 3,000K color temperature. Otherwise, your children will experience:
When your child’s master clock is out of synchronization with the day-night cycle, they will experience circadian disruption. Interrupting or altering your normal circadian rhythm puts you at risk of mental, emotional, and behavioral problems.
Children who use digital screens at night experience circadian disruption because the blue light disturbs their body’s internal clock. In addition, circadian disruption can increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, mood disorders, and cancer in children.
Numerous research studies show that people using blue-light-emitting devices at night have an increased risk of cancer. Blue light is harmful to adults, leading to an increased risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.
Circadian disruption can affect your child’s natural sleep pattern. A good night’s sleep is vital for your child because it reduces the risk of diabetes, depression, stress, weight gain or obesity, and other health conditions. That’s why it is crucial to switch off the lights at night. Here are a few suggestions:
- Use shielded and dark-sky friendly fixtures for your outdoor lighting
- Use the right amount of light needed or switch off the lights completely
- Keep the blues away 2-3 hours before bed
- Avoid devices, such as smartphones, computers, tablets, and TVs
- Install a color temperature app to limit the blue light at night if you want to use the devices
- Keep your children’s bedroom dark using blackout curtains
- Cover or remove different light sources, such as charging stations and clock radios
- Use amber light or dim red light if you need a nightlight
- Use warm white light-emitting light bulbs indoors with lower or 3,000K color temperatures
Set times for devices and know when to clock off from the screen
Screens have become a critical part of children’s lives at home and school. Although it is crucial to switch off the lights at night, as parents, you must also make efforts to balance and purpose behind your children’s screen time to prevent health conditions that can affect their overall health and productivity at school.
Young children who use digital devices stumble across inappropriate content that can impact their overall wellbeing. Passive screen time has physical effects on your child’s development, including eyes, brain, mood, behavior, sleep cycle, etc.
Because young children do not understand the adverse effects of blue light at night, it is your duty as parents to set times for devices and know when to clock off from the screen. Here are a few tips.
Set Digital Rules Together
Involve your children in the process of setting digital rules and let them understand why it is helpful for them to follow the rules. It is crucial to choose device-free zones in your home, keep smartphones out of your children’s bedroom at night, and use different apps to turn devices “ON” and “OFF” automatically at different times of the day are helpful ways to create a balance between online and offline activities.
We recommend parents encourage their children to take a break every 20 to 30 minutes and use digital screens in short bursts. Ensure your children turn off their screens at least one or two hours before bedtime to avoid digital eye strain, disturbed circadian rhythm, insomnia, and other conditions.
Stay Engaged in Your Children’s Screen Use
It is essential to engage in your children’s digital life as they grow because the more you involve yourself and understand your children’s online activities, the more you can streamline their screen use and create a balance.
Therefore, it is wise to have a healthy mix of digital screen activities that encourage education, learning, and creativity. There is no harm in using digital devices to connect with family and friends. However, it is crucial to keep an eye on your children’s screen time.
Discuss Risks and Strategies to Tackle Them
Take your time and help your children understand the risks of using digital devices. Discuss what steps to take if they feel uncomfortable and experience symptoms like eye strain, headaches, migraines, disturbed sleep cycle, etc. Guiding your children can help them explore their passions and improve their skills while using digital devices appropriately.
Set an Example with Your Own Screen Use
Children always tend to model their behavior on parents. When you take breaks and leave your smartphone out of your bedroom at night, your children will follow your lead. Therefore, it is crucial to set an example and avoid using phones or any other digital devices at night. At the same time, encourage your children to do the same.
Blue light can cause significant damage to your eyes and lead to other health conditions. Although not all screen time is created equal, we recommend encouraging yourself and your children to have a solid balance between interactive screen time and passive screen time. The tips and tricks given above can help you in this regard.