“Imagine it’s 2035 and you get a call from your son who proceeds to inform you that, at the young age of 32, he’s going blind as a result of macular degeneration.”
As dramatic and shocking as this quote from a recent article by GoodMenProject.com sounds, the possibility of the scenario described should shock you even more. Macular degeneration traditionally affects the middle-aged and elderly. Macular degeneration rarely affects young people amid their careers, starting a family, and settling into their first home.
As children grow, their eyes develop until they reach their late-teens. This means their susceptibility to damage remains high throughout this period. During their youngest years, blue light can travel right past the cornea and directly affect the retina much more easily than when kids’ eyes have fully developed.
New studies constantly come out showing just how digitally saturated society has become. The saturation, overtime, seeps constantly down, affecting people and earlier and earlier ages than ever. The increased exposure to blue light which follows leads to multiple, long-term issues including macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for adults over 50.
The Problem of Technology
As noted in the article quoted above, a Nielsen study done back in 2012 found that over 70% of kids under the age of 12 regularly use tablets for gaming and learning. With how advanced and inexpensive technology has become in the past 5 years, that number must surely be nearing 80% by now. What’s more, the Journal of Pediatrics found:
- 20% of one-year-olds own a tablet
- 28% of two-year-olds can navigate a digital device without help
- 28% of parents say they use a digital device to put their kids to sleep
As we have pointed out in previous blogs, artificial blue light is terrible for you. It causes you to lose sleep, may cause your metabolism to decrease, and damages retinal tissue in your eye. Why on earth would you let kids spend more time than absolutely necessary on something that can wreck their visual future? Let alone, as many parents do, have a device at the ready as a bedtime tradition!
Education and Communication are Key!
Taking direct action and removing the cause of the problem, the screens, is the best solution. Today, however, removing screens from your kids’ lives might simply be out of the question. Seek compromises, limit access, and work little by little to improve your children’s relationships with technology. All of the possible fixes out there work to greater or lesser extents. That said, only a healthy understanding of the dangers, and a determination to safely navigate the terrain can bring positive long term results.