Dr. Jim Martin 03/16/2016

kids-using-tablets.pngWith technology taking over the classroom and apps becoming the top source of entertainment, children are spending more time than ever in front of screens. Technology is great for learning and entertainment, but how much screen time is too much? Find out how your child's eyes can be affected.

Screens In Schools And At Home

The push to bring technology into the classroom is growing. Research is continually showing that time spent on the computer can help tremendously in preparing young children for their academic future. Electronics are being used for more than education apps and games in the classroom. Tablets and computers can also act as recording devices, video cameras, and electronic folders for storing assignments and projects.

At home, many kids will want to spend free time playing games on phones and tablets, playing video games with friends, or watching their favorite TV shows. Parents can make an effort to ensure that at least some of those games and TV shows are education based to encouraging learning outside of the classroom. However, it's also important to limit screen time.

Dangers of Digital Screen Time Overload

It's not surprising to learn that too much time spent with digital screens can cause health issues. According to Health Line, eye strain, headaches, pain in the head and neck, blurred vision, and dry eyes can all be the result of spending too much time looking at phones, tablets, and computer screens.

Eye health is a serious consideration for kids who are constantly surrounded by technology. The strain on the eyes, and blue light given off by the screens, can cause eyes to age more quickly. While the effects may not be seen immediately, the damage can build up over time and lead to serious eye health issues like blindness and macular degeneration later in life.

How Much Is Too Much?

Luckily, short-term effects of screen time can be easily reversed. Taking regular breaks to walk away, preferably outdoors and away from more harsh indoor lighting, can give eyes some much needed rest. Use the 20/20/20 rule — a 20 second break for every 20 minutes of screen time, looking at objects at least 20 feet away.

While there aren't yet any set guidelines about how much digital screen time is safe or unsafe for children, there are ways for parents to regulate the time and prevent damage. Start by ensuring that your child is taking regular breaks. Encourage time spent outdoors and social interaction.

Stay on top of your child's eye health by scheduling regular check ups. Make an appointment with Broome Optical today.

Computer Vision Syndrome Infographic