A child spends an average of 30 hours a week in front of a screen. Computers, digital tablets and smartphones seem to invade the visual and mental space of children, some becoming very dependent. According to a study, published in the American Journal of Therapy, the longer a child spent time in front of a screen, the lower were their physical and mental abilities.
Though adults and teens are exposed to equal or more screen time, they understand the negative effects of it and take the necessary counter-measures for eye protection by taking frequent breaks from the screen or using glasses. Children, however, become addicted to video games and other devices, and are not capable of exercising self-control.
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Childhood Myopia and Computer Vision Syndrome
Children are using screens at an ever earlier age. The figures indicate that children from 3 to 6 years spend an average of three hours per day in front of a screen, 12-17 year olds spend an average of eight and a half hours each day. The instances of childhood myopia have doubled in the past few decades.
The blue light coming from the screens is very harmful for the eyes of children, who are still vulnerable. This radiation is harmful to the eyes. Indeed, following a report published by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), LEDs can have a negative impact on eye health and cause blurry vision.
It has a direct impact on their health and causes multiple ailments such as headaches. Blue light is also responsible for visual fatigue also known as the computer vision syndrome and sleep disorders. It increases the chances of the child suffering from astigmatism, myopia or hyperopia.
Here are 8 Tips to Protect Your Children from Excessive Screen Time
- Limit the duration of exposure to screens in childhood and adolescence as much as possible.
- Avoid putting your toddlers in front of a screen.
- Keep at a safe distance (take into account the size of the screen and play on the size of the characters).
- Decrease the brightness of the screens, especially at night, taking into account the ambient brightness.
- Take breaks, even more so when there are convergence problems.
- In case of clinical signs like blurry vision, consult an eye specialist as soon as possible.
- Do not over add any blue light; beware of domestic lights, too often LED, and prefer at home low-light LEDs.
- Use screen protectors or glasses whose lenses filter blue light to reduce glare. Ask an optician, because the techniques are evolving rapidly and there are now untinted glasses filtering blue-violet light, which can simultaneously correct nearsightedness or astigmatism.
The TV or tablet is not harmful in itself. You just have to use them in good intelligence. The goal is to select activities that promote the cognitive development of the child. And to prevent your children from spending too much time in front of the television.
Though no devices till your child’s teenage years is the best solution for good eye health, it is not necessary to completely ban them from using these devices. Proper care and frequent eye checkups can help maintain better eye health.
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs with a mission of informing readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care and eye health. He loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.