Kids & Computers – What is Digital Eye Strain?

Kids and Technology

In this age of technology, more and more people rely on gadgets. As parents, we turn to gadgets for help in babysitting. How easy it is to hand a tablet to a young child to keep them busy while we cook dinner. Oftentimes, we just turn on the television and let them watch cartoons to keep them quiet.

However, little do we know that exposing them to these gadgets can cause eye problems. We think that letting them play educational games or watching television can help them. We turn to gadgets thinking that it helps them calm down and leave us a few minutes of peace.

Yet, are you aware of the dangers to their eye health?

What is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eyestrain, or computer vision syndrome, is when a person looks at a gadget for more than two hours straight. Children are also prone to digital eyestrain because they have no idea how long they have been using the gadget or watching TV.

Like adults, children also blink less when using gadgets than when they read books. In addition, gadgets and television emits blue light. Blue light is a short-wavelength light that contributes to eyestrain. It is also the kind of light that keeps us awake.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

How can you tell if your child has eyestrain? Not all children can describe what they feel, so asking them about the symptoms is not enough. The most common symptoms of eyestrain are tired, itchy, and burning eyes; watery or dry eyes; blurred vision; headaches; sensitivity to light; and difficulty in concentrating.

It is best to bring your child to an ophthalmologist to have their eyes examined. The ophthalmologist may prescribe a special kind of glasses with photochromic lenses and/or anti-reflective lenses to protect them from blue light.

How to Prevent Digital Eye Strain in Children

As much as we want to rely on gadgets or television for babysitting, we need to ensure that our children will grow up with good eyesight. We don’t want them to experience difficulties in reading when they go to school. How do we make prevent eyestrain on children? Here are some tips:

  • Use the 20-20-20 rule – Time your children’s gadget usage. It may be added responsibility on our part, but it will help your children in the end. You may also use an egg timer and teach your children the rule. Encourage them to rest their eyes for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes by looking at something at least 20 meters away. Set up a colourful picture that they can look at that to mark the 20-meter distance.
  • Change the settings of the gadget – Most gadgets and computers have a setting that disables the blue light. If this feature is unavailable, reduce the brightness of the display.
  • Adjust the lighting conditions in your home – Make sure that there is no glaring light coming from the interior lights or from outside the windows. Change the light fixtures if they are too bright.
  • Encourage proper posture – Teach your children how to hold the gadget. It should be an arm’s length away from their face. Also, let them prop it up on a desk or a pillow so that they are not slouching or looking down. The gadget should be at chest level. Ask them not to go too near the television when watching.

Using electronic gadgets is inevitable these days. It’s alright for you to let your children use these modern toys, but always remember that anything that’s done or used in excess would not be good for them.

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