Leading optician reveals the impact screens are having on children’s overall wellbeing
· 40% of UK children own a technological device.
· 20% of these children use this device for more than two hours a day.
· Research reveals that screens can have a negative impact on children’s eyes, mental health, and sleep patterns.
Technology is becoming a bigger part of children’s lives every day, but many parents are left unaware of the consequences of extended screen time.
From schoolwork to bedtime stories, electronic devices have become a staple in thousands of UK households, leaving younger generations exposed to a range of harmful effects.
In a survey carried out by eyesight experts All About Vision, it was revealed that as many as 40% of UK children own a technological device. What’s more, 20% of these children use their devices for more than two hours a day for activities that include homework, entertainment, and connecting with friends and family.
The benefits of technology are undeniable, but prolonged use can take its toll on children’s overall wellbeing, including their eye health. Two of the most common screen-related complaints are eye strain and computer vision syndrome (CVS). Symptoms of CVS include headaches, tired eyes, eye twitching and blurred vision. Some researchers also believe that too much screen time could be a risk factor for myopia (short-sightedness) in children.
Technology can also impact children’s sleep patterns. We asked leading optician Dr. Pamela Miller, medical reviewer for All About Vision, to explain this further: “The bright light from a phone or tablet can make it difficult for children to relax and fall asleep, as it disturbs their circadian rhythm or sleep/wake cycle.”
Many devices now offer a night viewing mode, but Dr. Miller told us this is unlikely to help children to sleep better. “Night modes make screens easier to look at in a darker room, which has the potential to reduce eye strain but that doesn’t mean children will find it any easier to fall asleep.
“To really get a child’s sleep back on track, parents need to swap screens for a book before bed.”
Over time, screens can also have consequences for children’s eyes. Dr. Miller reveals that children can be just as likely to suffer from computer vision syndrome (CVS) as adults. “While children don’t sit at a screen all day for work, they’re less likely to take breaks when they are using a device.
“Even using a device for just two hours a day can lead to symptoms of CVS, which may impact a child’s normal vision development.”
Dr. Miller shares some helpful advice for concerned parents: “The best way to keep your child’s eyes safe is by limiting their time in front of a screen. Encourage them to play board games, read books and spend time outdoors.”
But sometimes device use is inescapable. In these circumstances, Dr. Miller poses the following solution: “If your child needs to spend a lot of time doing homework on the computer, consider investing in blue light glasses to minimize stress and implementing the 20-20-20 rule. This means having a 20-second break every 20 minutes by looking at an object 20 feet away.”
All About Vision is committed to keeping people informed about both their own and their children’s eye health. To learn more, visit their website: https://www.allaboutvision.com/