For many children, remote learning has restarted this year. Virtual learning could lead to increased screen time for your child. We also realize how difficult it can feel to balance your job with your children at home, so additional screen time may be necessary. Unfortunately, it could hurt your child’s eyes. It can feel overwhelming to manage it all and form healthy eye habits. Our group is here to help. At Nevada Eye Physicians in Las Vegas, NV, we are dedicated to supporting families, providing helpful information, and offering compassionate care. We invite you to learn about the effects of too much screen time and tips for forming new habits. If you have additional questions, please call us to learn more and schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump, NV.
How does increased screen time effect kids’ eyes?
Excess screen time can impact your child’s eyes in a variety of ways. It can have long-term effects, including a higher chance of developing nearsightedness (myopia). According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the number of children with nearsightedness has increased in the past 30 years. Since your children’s eyes are still developing, they need exposure to sunlight. Scientists are unsure of the exact reasoning behind this, but they have found a correlation between indoor time and nearsightedness. In addition to a greater chance of developing myopia, increased screen time can cause eye strain, create dry or red eyes, decrease the eye’s ability to focus on things far away, and affect sleep patterns.
How much screen time should kids have?
The amount of screen time depends on your child’s age. Based on information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children younger than 18 months old should avoid most media devices except video chatting services, like Zoom. They recommend that children 2 – 5 years old have screen time for one hour a day. During this time, parents should carefully monitor programs and help the child understand the content. Children six and older should have consistent time limits for their screen time. By setting boundaries and creating new habits, you can help ensure your child’s eyesight stays protected. Of course, parents can adjust the screen time based on their children’s needs and personal choice. We recommend reviewing the AAP’s site for additional information.
How can families form new healthy habits for screen time?
Forming healthy eye and screen time habits can feel challenging at first. To make it easier for you, we have created a list of our top five tips to reduce screen time and set healthy goals. This includes:
- Create screen-free times, like at dinner, a restaurant, or a family outing
- Establish a no media in the bedroom rule
- Motivate your child to play outside during the daytime
- Lead by example to help encourage your child to follow the rules
- Avoid using additional screen time as a reward system
If your child is using the screen for school or during their allotted time, we also recommend changing the font size and screen brightness, discussing how to position their device, and practicing the 20-20-20 rule. The 20-20-20 rule recommends that children stop every 20 minutes, pause for 20 seconds, and look 20 feet away. Then they can resume their activity.
Schedule your child’s yearly eye exam
Teaching your kids to learn healthy screen habits can help their eyesight in the long run. If you have questions about your child’s eye health, please schedule an appointment at Nevada Eye Physicians in Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump, NV. We also recommend scheduling a yearly eye exam for your child. Our board-certified ophthalmologists look forward to helping you and your family maintain good eye health.