NPR stated that American children spend more time in front of electronics than they do at school. The Academy of Pediatrics will be releasing new recommendations for age and time spent in front of electronics that are more relevant in the days of the tablet and smart phone.
Until then, what can parents and educators do to help reduce eye strain in children and teenagers? Especially since technology is everywhere.
- Monitor time: the 20/20/20 rule is especially important for screen time. With the increased near work (especially on smart phones), the eyes are having to work excessively hard to keep things clear and single. By looking 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes, this can help give the eyes the break and relaxation that they need.
- Monitor content: especially for children under 2, sitting and watching a video is very different from video chatting with a family member that they recognize. Experts say brain activity goes from very little to very high depending on the interactive content being displayed.
- Watch for Signs: Eye rubbing, frowning and squinting are all signs of eye fatigue or strain, so when children are using electronic media make sure to keep an eye out for these signs. Also, make sure that when holding hand-held devices to bring them no closer than a relaxed arm’s length away from the face.
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