We live in a new world. The vast majority of people through history lived without any digital technology. The previous two generations to the current one lived with some technology as a part of life. Children today are born with digital devices all around them. From the day they are born, children are exposed, more or less, to digital devices. The convenience and other benefits derived from this technology deserves applaud. That said, because of how the ubiquity and novelty, we simply cannot know the long term impact of such technology, not yet.
Former Generations Vs. Today’s Generation
In the past, eye health was much simpler: be careful with light sources, protect your eyes from danger, and you’ll be safe. Besides vision loss that often occurs with time, the risks to eye health were minimal. Fast forward to today, and now we find eye dangers everywhere. We already know that digital devices cause digital eye strain. Furthermore, we already know that digital devices have been linked to possible macular degeneration. That these consequences follow in the short term leads to the conclusion that other consequences likely wait in the long term.
Given what we know, everyone should keep an eye on their kids ocular health. An article on the subject in Business Wire suggests “children need yearly comprehensive eye exams prior to the start of each school year.” Taking yearly account of eye health can keep the potential long term issues in check. Digital devices take over more of our lives every year. Children, more and more, use them in school. Realistically, getting away from digital devices probably can’t happen. Proactivity in watching your kids’ eye health can happen.
How To Help On a Daily Basis
Children, like everyone else, feel the symptoms of digital eye strain. Unlike adults, however, children have a harder time expressing their discomfort when it comes. Although kids aren’t shy about telling when they’re upset, the problem is that they don’t get upset when they’re using their devices. Children’s attention spans, though short, can focus intently on things that catch their interest. When children’s attention becomes rapt by their digital devices, breaking that focus presents a near impossible task. Teaching your kids, regardless of how they think they feel, how to protect themselves when they use their devices should be a priority for all parents. Try these tips:
- 20-20-20 Rule: Teach your kids to regularly (every 20 minutes) look at something a short distance away (20 feet) for a significant amount of time (20 seconds). This breaks the focus on screens, and gives the eyes a rest. In the short term, it prevents digital eye strain, in the long term it protects the eyes from damaging effects.
- Unplug: At least one time a week, try letting your kids play with no devices at all. Taking an extended break like this helps the eyes have time to recover, plus it helps prevent digital addiction.
- Angle Down: Pointing devices directly at your eyes while holding it at eye level causes additional exposure to damaging blue light. Instead, teach your kids to always have their screen placed at a 20 degree angle, and around waste level.
For some of us, the damage to our eyes may already be done. For our kids, however, their eyes still have a chance! Take action today, and do what you can to protect your children. Read even more, right now, about the dangers of blue light, and why protecting from it matters for you and your family.