Smartphones, tablets and computers have become smaller and more convenient over the years due to technological advancement, making them easily available for children to use, leading to an increase in children’s use of digital devices along with blurry vision from a young age.
Do you know that the average child spends the average of 30 hours a week in front of a screen? Scary isn’t it?
But this addiction will only develop if you allow it to. Children don’t really have a semblance of what’s right and what’s wrong about spending so much time staring at a screen for hours on end without taking any countermeasures for eye protection. Children can also become hooked on to video games and other devices and simply don’t have the maturity to exercise the kind of self-control that we would expect from adults yet.
Not taking care of this problem from a young age can lead to your children struggling with screen addiction later on in their lives.
Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain
Spending an excess of two hours staring at a digital screen tends to greatly stress out the eyes, particularly in young children, leading to digital eye strain. Their list of eye-related complaints would mostly be limited to dry eyes, shoulder, childhood myopia or neck pain and severe headaches. Your children may even start displaying signs of fatigue, red or irritated eyes and causes blurry vision in severe cases.
Here are 8 ways that you can curb the amount of time your children spend staring at digital screens:
Avoid Gifting Your Children Smart Devices
Nowadays it is pretty common to hear your children asking you to buy them a smart device for their birthdays or on festivals. Unfortunately, this is usually done under peer pressure as they may feel compelled to keep up with their friends who are tech savvy or for academic purposes through online learning. Do not give in to what they ask for.
Lay Down Some Ground Rules About Using Devices
Make sure that you set boundaries when your children are using your devices. You can do this by:
- Install Parental Control Apps
- Restrict your children’s computer usage to certain websites for doing their E-learning assignments.
- Limit the children’s mobile usage. You can do this by switching off your home Wifi after a certain time and putting away phones.
- Lay down some ground rules such as the places and times where your children are not allowed to touch their gadgets such as during meal times or when you have guests over which can lead to some actual conversations amongst your family and guests without any distractions.
You can begin to gradually relax these boundaries over time as your child gets older and begins to show maturity and better self-control.
Keep Your Smart Devices in the Open
Even though smart devices are really helpful in terms of studying purposes, kids will be kids and sometimes their attention may be diverted elsewhere such as online games, youtube videos and unwanted online content. It is best to place your smart device in an open area in your home so that you can easily and conveniently monitor and supervise what your children browse.
Talk to Your Children
Talk to your children about the correct usage of smart devices as well as consequences of abusing it such as blurry vision, computer vision syndrome and astigmatism. This may have already been taught to them in school but if you speak to them about it as a family then your children will understand the implications and consequences of their actions within your home
Lead by Example
The chances of your children listening to what you tell them will be futile if you yourself are always glued to your smart devices all the time and your children will notice and this and follow suit. Set a good example for your children by following good digital habits and remember that less screen time will lead to more family time.
Encourage or Enroll them in Outdoor Activities
Encourage your children to participate in outdoor activities. You can simply enrol them in some sports which will allow them to practice using their distance vision as well as allowing them to take part in up-close tasks which involve the rest of their body parts as well as well as reducing stress and strain on their visual systems. Make sure that they wear eye protection if they are enrolled or taking part in a physical sport, however.
Establish a Reward System
Have a reward system in place so that your children have to earn their screen time by helping you out around the house with household chores as well as spending actual quality time with family members without being distracted by anything.
It is best to protect your children from the dangers of screen time on their vision health by limiting the amount of time they spend on their digital devices. Make sure to follow it up with proper eye care and regular eye checkups to ensure that their eye health remains unimpeded.