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5 Tips for a Safer Screen Time for Children



Screens are a significant part of your child’s day-to-day life. Kids spending more time in front of the screen can result in various health issues such as headaches, shoulder and neck pain, fatigue, or eyes strain.


Thinking that your children will stop using modern devices/tools in the 21st century is not realistic. However, there is some good news. There are rules you can impose in your home to lessen the risk of vision and eye problems due to prolonged use of digital devices and computers.


1. Maintain a Safe Distance from Devices

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Kids spend a lot of time on the screen reading at 8 to 10 inches away, especially on mobile gadgets, particularly phones. Instead of being comfortable in a straight-ahead position, their eyes turn to focus on the screen, this can cause eye muscles fatigue leading to vision problems and headache.


The safe distance to keep between the digital devices and the eye level recommended by pediatric ophthalmologists is two feet away. Any distance closer than this will require them to focus harder to keep the image sharp, and it can potentially worsen myopia and cause strain. Ensuring that your child is at least two feet away from the screen will help your child with better posture and eyesight.


2. Encourage Regular Visual Breaks

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Buying kids the highly marketed blue-light-blocking glasses are common for parents once they see their child using the screen more often. They believe that these glasses will help reduce and eye strain. Even though this may help the best step parents can take is by advising their kids to follow the 20/20/20 rule.


This is a rule where they train the kids to take breaks from the screen every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It helps return the eyes to their natural position and get the much-required break.


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3. Make it a Rule to Play Outside

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Time for a child outdoor has many benefits, including reducing the likelihood of kids developing myopia by 50%. A research involving 10,000 kids showed that every extra hour they spent outdoor every week reduced myopia risks by 2%. Bright light stimulates a release of dopamine which slows down eye growth hence preventing myopia. Being outdoors also protects the kid’s eyes compared to indoors, where every object is at close range.


4. Visit the doctor regularly

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Make it a rule in your home to schedule annual eye exams to ensure they see well and have healthy eyes. Vision screening is vital as it will help you identify potential problems and shouldn’t be postponed due to the school calendar or other commitments.

The benefit of visiting eye examinations annually is that other than performing special eye tests, they will also provide recommendations to lessen symptoms and risk for computer eye strain. You don’t want your kids to miss those benefits.


5. Establish Media-Free Time

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Implement a rule where they know they shouldn’t use digital devices and use this time to connect as a family. They can as well use this time to have free play. Besides giving their eyes an excellent off-screen break, free play is vital for healthy brain development. It allows them to use their creativity to develop physical, dexterity, and cognitive and imagination abilities. It’s only through play at an early age that they will interact with the world around them.

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