The COVID-19 pandemic which led to the shutdown of schools and college forced children to spend more time on computers, laptops and mobiles — all thanks to school from home and online classes. Due to the significant spike in screen time, parents are now worried about their children’s eye health.
Spending too much time in front of screens can trigger various eyes problems. Thus, every parent needs to know how they can manage kids’ screen time and keep their little ones and teens safe while they are studying from home. Here are nine things parents can do…
Side effects of screen time:
1. Using a computer, mobile, laptop or even reading a book can put kids at increased risk of developing Myopia. Myopia or Nearsightedness is a condition in which close objects appear clearly, but far ones don't.
2. Increased screen time can also lead to eye strain. Apart from eye strain, constant focus on the computer or laptop screen can also lead to headaches and eye aches.
3. When we use a computer or a laptop, we tend to blink less, and instead stare at the screen. This staring leads to dryness and hence, the child could complain of itching, burning, watering, redness and discharge.
Steps you can take:
1. Make sure that your child takes a break for four to five minutes after every half an hour. By looking far for some time can also help relax your child’s eyes.
2. Don’t make them sit under the draft of the AC. The wind blowing across the face can make your children’s eyes dry very quickly. Make them sit somewhere else if they are sitting near the air conditioner.
3. They should spend at least one hour outdoors. This will force your child to look at far distances. It will reverse the action of eye muscles which were functioning while they were glued to the screens and thus reduce eye strain.
4. Use certain eye drops which help in reducing dryness. There are multiple brands available in the market.
5. Cast the phone or the computer content on the TV and this will reduce the time we spend doing near work.
6. Spend more time with your child as it will break their screen cycle. It will make them look away from screens and they will blink more. Because when a person is constantly focused on a screen, he/ she is less likely to blink which also leads to dryness and strain.
7. Buy them a pair of blue light blocking lenses as it reduces the Melatonin levels in the blood and leads to good sleep. But buying blue light blocking lenses won’t solve your kid’s problem altogether. It is advisable that you consult an eye specialist if some eye problem persists.
8. Your children should drink enough water. Make sure they sleep early.
9. Their sitting arrangement should be proper. Don’t let your kids sit on a bed or a couch, instead make them sit on a chair and place their computer/ laptop on a table on equal height. For younger kids, put a cushion under their seats, it will reduce their eye strain.