I’m worried my daughter is spending too much time on her tablet – what is this doing to her?
You are right to be concerned. Multiple studies correlate increased use of digital media by children with risks of obesity, poorer school performance, poorer sleep quality, as well as delays in critical cognition, learning and social skills. Pre-COVID we recommended no more than two hours/day of recreational screen time for school age children (less for younger children). This is still the goal, but COVID has made it impossible for many families to avoid children spending far more time in front of screens than is healthy.
What can we do? Let’s start with these guidelines:
- Take a break every 30 to 60 minutes. Look out the window; get up to stretch; break the spell.
- Avoid screen use in the hour before bedtime.
- Encourage outdoor activity over screen time. (New research indicates that increased myopia or nearsightedness may be linked with children spending fewer hours outdoors.)
- Continue or start the habit of ANNUAL eye exams for all children. Your optometrist will check how the eyes converge (turn in to read), accommodate (to focus on words and screens), and - if required - discuss the potential benefit of reading glasses for your child. These may include proper visual system development, reducing eye strain or aiding in clarity. We will also check for the many silent ocular health conditions only a full eye exam can reveal.
It is estimated that at least 80% of the information a sighted person’s brain is processing is visual, and in today’s world that may be an underestimation. What could be more important than an optimally functioning visual system? Annual eye exams for children are covered through MSP, so book one today.