Nowadays, kids are getting more and more screen time than ever. And, that’s not something you should feel guilty about because it’s impossible to keep them away from technology devices. However, screens can have some negative effects on your kids’ eyes. So, it’s important to learn how to reduce the harm rather than trying to prevent the inevitable. Here are 10 ways you can take to protect your kid’s eyes from screens.
Checking during Screen Time
It’s important to ask your child about how their eyes are feeling regularly. However, keep in mind that your kid may not notice any problem or understand exactly what eye issue is this. For example, your child might experience dry eyes. But, they only know that they’re having a sensation of having something in their eyes. Your kid may think that it is caused by dust, not eye problems. Or, sometimes they will be too focused on what they’re doing, therefore, they can’t feel anything abnormal.
It’s easy to find moments when your kid is looking at a screen from a really close distance. Their instincts always push them to see and discover things as close as possible. So, you can encourage them to watch videos on bigger screens by casting from their device to a TV, for example. Try to avoid letting them use smartphones as much as possible.
Set Them Up Right
The statement also recommends paying attention to how kids’ screens are set up ergonomically because, in addition to straining their eyes, they could be straining their necks too. For instance, their chair can allow your kids’ feet to lay flat on the floor. Moreover, the computer screens should be at eye level and arm’s length.
Limiting Screen Time
Yes, we know this is a tough one! But, if you can, limit the time your kid spends on screens from the first day you let them use smart devices. Children up to 2 years old can’t be allowed to use screens at all (maybe except for a few mins of video chatting). And, kids from 2 to 5 years old should be getting no more than 1 hour of screen time a day. Once you get a little older, we suggest only two hours of screen time a day.
Take a Break
In addition to limiting screen time, you should encourage your kids to step away from the screen at least every 30 min to give their eyes a break. It can involve something like going outdoors or doing other activities where they’re not focused on electronic devices. For example, you and your kid can play some activities before letting them go back with their screen time. Remember to warn them before 5 to 10 min, so your kid won’t complain about it or be reluctant.
Having Outdoor Time
In fact, going outside can also help kids’ eyesight. Although most people used to think screen time was leading to an increase in myopia (nearsightedness), it actually links to not spending enough outdoor time more. Believe it or not, our bodies need to have some time outdoors. Also, the natural light benefits eyesight more than you think.
Blinking is very important when your kid is using phones or computers. It helps to prevent dryness and irritation. However, when staring at a screen, people blink less frequently (only about one-third as often as they normally), according to studies.
So, to reduce the risk of dry eyes, try this exercise: Every 20-30 minutes, tell your kid to blink 10 times very slowly. This will help rewet their eyes. Also, you should do this exercise with them. After a while, it might become a good habit, so you don’t have to remind them anymore.
Consider Computer Glasses
If you think that your child needs help with their vision while playing games or spending time on a computer, the blue-light glasses for kids are a great option. Because they can help lower the blue light that enters their retina. Be sure to ask your eye doctor for advice and how to customize one for your kid.
Overall, you should remember to schedule annual eye exams for your children when you start letting them use technology devices. In addition to making sure your child’s eyes are healthy, you should try all of the above ways. Children and technology are the future. Taking these simple measures can go a long way toward keeping your kid seeing clearly and comfortably for years to come. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments!