There are various reasons for parents to consider how much screen time they should offer their children. The amount of time spent in front of the screen each day has been linked to developmental outcomes, obesity, poor sleep quality, and eye development. According to Canadian research, preschoolers who spent more than two hours per day in front of a screen had a roughly eight-fold increase in ADHD.
Screen Time Limits That Are “Safe” Vary by Age
According to the World Health Organization’s 2019 guidelines, children under the age of one should not be exposed to any screen time at all. Children beyond the age of one should be exposed to extremely restricted screen time for several years.
Eye Strain From the Computer
Digital eye strain is not the same as glaucoma or pink eye, for example. It is a term for the symptoms that occur when people spend too much time staring at a screen. Dry eyes, itchy eyes, fuzzy vision, and headaches are some of the symptoms. These symptoms are very transient, and there is no permanent damage to the eyes.
The simplest method to avoid digital eye strain (or eye strain from any extended near-focus task like reading or sewing) is to blink frequently and look up from your screen or close up work every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds. The 20-20-20 rule is a method of repeated re-focusing that allows the eyes to rest and refresh.
How to Keep Children’s Eyes Safe When They Are Exposed to Screens
While some of the risks of blue light have been exaggerated in recent years, using a device too close to bedtime might negatively impact sleep quality. Sleep is vital to a child’s growth, that the World Health Organization included it in their most recent guidelines.
The best method to cope with the potential impacts of screens on children’s eyesight is to assist them in developing excellent screen-use habits. Adults and anybody suffering from chronic dry eyes or eye strain should follow these similar guidelines.
● Follow the 20-20-20 rule: stare at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
● Set a timer to remind the child to look into the distance on a regular basis.
● Every other chapter, encourage kids to gaze up and out the window by alternating between reading an e-book and a real book.
● Look out the window for 20 seconds after finishing a level in a video game.
● Every few chapters, pre-mark books with a paperclip to remind your child to look up. Use the “bookmark” function on an e-book to get the same effect.
● Adjust the screen’s brightness and contrast to make it more comfortable.
● When using a computer or a screen, keep a decent posture. Muscle tension and headaches caused by eye strain can be exacerbated by poor posture.
● Encourage your youngster to hold his or her digital media at a greater distance: The optimal length is between 18 and 24 inches.
● Remind children to blink when they are looking at a screen.