Screen Time for Kids . . . Can Too Much Lead to Vision Problems?
As parents, we want the best for our kids....especially when it comes to their health. So, how much screen time is too much? It is well known that extended near tasks, such as reading, computer work, cell phone and tablet can contribute to nearsightedness development, but is that all? Below are general guidelines and helpful tips for monitoring your child's screen time.
Screen Time by Age: Recommendations are Provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics
Infants 18 months and younger: No screen time
Infants learn and grow best when they explore the world around them, and interact with family and caregivers. Face-to-face interactive media, such as Skype or Facetime, is acceptable.
Children 2 to 5 years: One hour per day
Choose high-quality programming. It is best to use media together with your child, instead of solo use by your child. Face-to-face interactive media, such as Skype or Facetime, is encouraged, and can promote healthy development in kids.
Children 6 years and older: Limit digital media
There's no magic number. Proper sleep (8-12) hours, 1 hour of physical activity,
school/homework, and adequate social contact should take priority for all kids and
teens, with screen time as something to be done in their remaining free time.
Helpful Tips (for kids and parents):
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule: after 20 minutes of near work, take a 20 second break, and focus your eyes on an object 20 feet away.
Discontinue device use 2-3 hours before bed. Blue light from screens suppresses melatonin production, which can affect people's ability to fall asleep, as well as their quality of sleep.
Designate "media-free” times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
Children should not sleep with devices in their bedrooms.
Parents are children's main role models, so it's important for moms and dads to have healthy digital media habits. Set an example by setting down cell phones, turning off the TV, and shutting laptops at night.
Excess screen time has been linked to issues with weight, eye strain and dryness, social/emotional/behavioral development, and sleep, so when it comes to screen time: less is more!
Schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam for you and your children!
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