Concerned over your child’s long screen time? Home-based Learning (HBL) has started on Monday, Sept 27 and has been extended till Oct 6 for primary school students. It is hard to limit their screen time with more e-learning and online entertainment during this Covid-19 pandemic times. As outdoor activities are lessened, their eyes are glued onto screens more than any other generation before them.
So how does this affect our child?
Excessive blue light can be harmful to our eyes. However, do you know that children are more susceptible to the effects of blue light from digital devices?
When we are born, the crystalline lens in our eyes which is used to focus on objects is clear. The lens then slowly yellows with age due to UV and blue light exposure.
Macular pigment works as a natural blue light filter for our eyes, and children possess a low amount of that. It only becomes sufficient after the child grows to about 9 years old. Furthermore, as children have larger pupils than an adult, more light enters their eye and reaches the retina, which isn’t very healthy for their developing eyes.
Why is this EXTRA concerning?
Similar to adults, children can also experience the same symptoms from too much screen time, such as eye discomfort, dry eyes and even digital eye strain. In fact, children are more susceptible to eye issues due to the following:
Lack of self-awareness in children
Children wouldn’t know when would be a good time to take an eye break, or when to stop using their digital devices without proper guidance. When they are too focused on playing their video games or watching their favourite show online with great concentration, they can continue for hours and hours. Eye irritation may occur with reduced blinking, resulting in dry eyes.
Adaptability of children
Children often ignore problems. They might not know how to change their surroundings to ensure optimal use of their digital devices. For example, while doing e-learning at home, they might not know how to adjust the lighting when their study area is too dark. This can result in excessive eye strain and they may not know if their vision is affected. They frequently accept blurred vision, because they may think everyone sees it the way they do. Uncorrected vision can further induce eye issues.
Here are some tips to reduce screen time for your child
It’s definitely not easy, but here are some little steps we can take to care for your child’s eyes!
Avoid using screens as “digital pacifier”
Mobile phones can be a very effective and convenient way of keeping your child calm and quiet, but they should not always be done excessively. There are many other activities to teach our children how to handle and control emotions, such as easy breathing, tapping on other sensory activities or simply giving them a warm hug. Let’s try to avoid using screen time as a reward or punishment for them!
Simple house rules
Screen time isn’t all that bad, as long as there is a limit. Set screen-free areas (e.g. mobile phones are not allowed at dining tables), or screen-free times (e.g. during family dinner) and device “curfews”. Little actions such as switching off TVs when no one is watching, no screen time 1 hour before sleep or keeping your gaming console to weekends only, can set your child to a comfortable amount of screen hours.
You are your child’s role model
Children often do as they see and they learn by copying you! We know it’s hard to reduce screen time, but you can avoid using them when your child is trying to talk or play with you. To them, they may not understand if you’re working or trying to learn something online and may only see the fact that you’re constantly glued to digital screens. So don’t be afraid to talk to them and explain the screen time limit you’ve set on them.
Indoor and outdoor activities
Encourage activities besides using the media. Engage your child in a conversation and ask them what they would prefer to do instead of using digital devices. Some indoor activities include reading, drawing, simple educational card games or puzzles.
Family outdoor activities are also a great way for bonding and to disconnect from the media world (not recommended now, of course)!
Limiting screen time isn’t easy…
We know that it isn’t easy to limit your child’s screen time in this screen age. Though screen time restriction is a good first step to protect their eyes, such measures can only go so far, given the increasing role of technology in their lives. Reduced outdoor activities and HBL due to the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t helping too.
Nutrition is an alternative in supporting healthy young eyes while embracing today’s digital lifestyle. We understand that kids can be fussy-eaters from time to time and hence they may not get enough of those nutrients through their daily meals. Our lutein eye care gummies come in handy here to bridge their nutritional gap!
Lookafter Digital Eyes are gummy vitamin for you and your child’s developing eyes in this digital age! These bite-sized treats contain Lutein & Zeaxanthin to filter blue light and reduce oxidative stress on the retina to support their long screen time from home-based learning. These yummy eye gummies are the perfect functional treats for your child (age 4 years old and above) to fill up the nutritional gap they lack in their diet, especially if they do not consume enough green leafy vegetables!
We think win-win for you and your little ones.