MORE SCREEN TIME and KIDS. Increased screen time at a young age has been associated with decreased gross motor skills development. One study reported that TV viewing at 29 months of age was associated with subsequent lower gross motor skills development at 65 months of age.
In addition, high screen time in early adolescence has been associated with more headaches and backaches. Furthermore, physical activity does not appear to improve those physical maladies. The effects of screen time on physical problems is believed to be cumulative. For more information and to have your child’s vision evaluated, contact us at http://www.brighteyeandvision.com
SCREEN TIME and KIDS. Does screen time cause nearsightedness to get worse? Can you tell my son/daughter to stop playing games on his/her phone? Is screen time bad? These, and others like them, are common questions that parents ask us frequently. Follow us as we embark on a mini-series to investigate what’s true and what’s myth based on clinical research and personal experience working with many families and their children. Let others know about this. You, and they, will find it interesting and helpful. Here’s a starter:
The World Health Organization recommends that children between the ages of 5 to 17 years engage in moderate-to-vigorous exercise for one hour per day because of the health benefits to developing children. Interestingly, even this daily exercise does not reverse the negative effect of too much screen time. In a study involving over 1000 U.S. children ages 6 to 15 years of age who exercised at least 1 hour per day, more TV watching was still associated with worse physical strength.
Parents should find this next post interesting. A new study involving adolescents reported 12 cases of newly developed eye-turn due to excessive smartphone use. The study also reported a significant improvement in the eye-turn after decreasing smartphone use. This is a rare condition and is a diagnosis of exclusion. The authors of the study believed that poor near visual skills may have contributed to these 12 adolescents being more susceptible to developing an eye-turn.
Smartphone use is becoming more common. 64% of American adults now own a smartphone compared to 35% in 2011. 73% of teens have access to smartphones, and 91% go online via mobile technology daily. Mobile technology is part of the fabric of society, and this is often a good thing. At the same time, there are certain precautions, other than reducing usage time, that should be taken to protect your visual system while making the most of advancing mobile technology.
91% of kids between the ages of 2 and 17 years play video games
54% of parents say that they have bought a mobile device for their child to support learning
Kids between the ages of 8- to 18-years old spend 53 hours per week on digital media for recreational use
Teachers reported that computers were used in the classroom for instruction 40% of the time
21% of kids 8 years and younger use smartphones
Whether it’s for pleasure or for education, the use of digital devices among kids is prevalent. Digital devices potentially provide multiple recreational, educational and developmental benefits. There are, however, “two sides to every coin”. Much like automobiles provide both “the good” (e.g. mobility) and “the bad” (e.g. pollution), the use of digital devices among children also has some potential precautions.
The effects of light from digital devices has been in the news over the past few years. This light has been shown to: 1) adversely affect night-time sleep, 2) increase the risk for macular degeneration, 3) damage cells in the back of the eye and 4) contribute to the formation of cataracts. In addition, the use of digital devices has been shown to increase eyestrain and, in some children, increase the rate of nearsightedness progression. Children, however, should not abandon the use of digital devices because of these precautions. What this does mean, however, is that every parent should consider ways to protect their child’s eyes while while they benefit from the use of digital devices. The use of prescription lenses that fully protect from the bandwidth of light that causes problems, checking a child’s near prescription to reduce strain and developing healthy visual habits are some ways to protect a child’s eyes in this digital world.
A recent survey of 2000 American children reveals that during the course of an average day, they spend:
7.5 hrs. using entertainment media
4.5 hrs. watching t.v.
1.5 hrs. on a computer
1 hr or more playing video games
Another survey shows that almost 80% of the North American population uses the internet. The fact that computers and their derivatives play such an important role in our lives is not new news. What might surprise you, though, is what effect increased media usage has on our visual systems. Clinical studies indicate that up to 90% of computer users may suffer from symptoms of eyestrain, headaches, ocular discomfort, dry eye, diplopia and blurred vision. These symptoms can adversely affect productivity at work and school. Proper care of our visual system will be increasingly important in order to keep up with the visual demands of an increasingly digital world.