Effects of Screen Time on Children: Sleeping Disorders on the Rise

Sleeping Disorders on the Rise for U.K. Children

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No Sleep In London

A new study finds kids in the U.K. suffer from sleeping disorders at an alarming rate. Technology, according to the study, is to blame. The study shows that, compared to 10 years ago, three times as many children are admitted to hospitals for treatment of sleep disorders. They suffer not just from poor sleep quality, but also from other disorders brought on by sleep deprivation.

effects of screen time on children

It goes without saying that if the numbers are on the rise in Britain, the U.S. is likely not far behind. Earlier this year, The Vision Council released their annual report on blue light and digital eye strain. Their research shows that 76.5 percent of Americans report their child or children are spending more than two hours in front of a digital device each day. Not only that, but they also report that 55.6 percent technology users suffer some form of computer vision syndrome after being exposed to two or more hours of screen time.

Is the U.S. Next?

The kids in the U.K should be a warning for the rest of the world, and a wakeup call to the U.K. The damage caused to children’s eyes by their exposure to technology at earlier and earlier ages has long term effects. The sleep cycle disruption and all that goes along with it is only the beginning.

Macular degeneration, cataracts, even diabetes all correlate with excessive exposure to blue light through technology. Nipping the problem in the bud would be ideal. We may already be past that point, but stopping sooner is always better than later when the stakes are so high. Children, as vulnerable and susceptible as they are, deserve and need the protection of adults.

screen time and children's health

Dealing with Modernity

Technology continues to expand at a breathtaking rate. Children (and adults) will only find themselves exposed to technology more frequently as the years wear on. Furthermore, it’s unquestionable that artificial light sources are detrimental to your health. So why aren’t more people taking greater precautions to both protect themselves and their children?

The best way to improve health is to just turn things off. Put the phone down, close the laptop, get outside, and ease the strain on your eyes the way Mother Nature intended. For other times when this isn’t an option:

  • Put your GUNNAR’s on. The blue light blocking, glare-reducing, and magnifying technology in the lenses reduce much of the negative effect of technology.
  • Use the tech and apps out there that help reduce blue light. The development of such technologies is still unfolding. Nevertheless, take advantage of what they already have, even if it’s not perfect.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It’s that simple and your eyes will thank you.

sleep disorders in children caused by screens

Parenting for the Future

As parents, we often consider what we would have done differently if we were in our parents’ shoes. Don’t let this issue be something your children one day look back on and wish you had done something different. In the short run taking action may be difficult (kids love their iPads!), in the long run, it will absolutely be worth it. Your children will thank you.

Sleep disorders children
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