There’s no doubt that screens (phones and tablets) have proved to be fantastic learning and development tools for children – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s easy for parents to provide their child with a screen that provides easy access to entertainment, whether that be through the puzzles offered in mobile games, something to watch in an app, or even an educational program like Reading Eggs. However, research and our educational psychologists suggest that excessive screen usage can be detrimental to children’s health (especially their eyes), and screens can’t achieve the same levels of positive engagement as toys and other social activities! So, how much screen time should children have each day?
Eye Health and Screens
According to research published by The Lancet Digital Health, there is a significant link between excessive screen time and a higher risk of developing myopia or short-sightedness. Myopia permanently changes the eye to refract light incorrectly, making object near to your vision sharp at the cost of deteriorating your long distance vision. This research suggests that mobile phone usage increases your risk of developing myopia by 30%, and combine with excessive computer usage, that risk jumps up to a staggering 80%.
These numbers are likely confronting to you – they certainly were for us. And in a world where screen use has become largely unavoidable, it seems all but a hopeless reality that most children will develop myopia. But, our psychologists have a few tips to help lessen the impact on your children’s eyes, while bettering their engagement with play in the process.