- By: Dr. Amit Gupta
Overuse of Digital Devices is harmful
We live in a world where the use of digital gadgets has increased greatly because of the plethora of information and entertainment it provides us with. Excessive usage of TVs, computers and mobile phones is quite alarming, especially when it comes to children. Reason being, they're perpetually exposed to it whether they're at home or in school.
What are they harmful effects of digital gadgets?
Digital devices emit blue light, which is similar to ultraviolet rays and can be harmful to our eyes.
Spending an extended amount of screen time exposed to this blue light results in what is commonly known as 'Computer Vision Syndrome' or 'Digital Eye Syndrome'.
1. Hazy or Blurry Vision
2. Tired/ Itchy/ Dry Eyes
3. Burning Sensation in the Eyes
Non-visual symptoms include difficulty in focusing, neck and shoulder pain, headaches and fatigue.
Therefore, it is vital to monitor how much screen time your child consumes before they become victim to such issues.
What is the solution?
Taking away your child's gadgets is definitely NOT the solution. Technology is not the villain here. Usage in moderation is what needs to be kept in mind.
Ways to Practice Moderate Usage
- Screen Time Limitation - It hasn't been proven yet, but an abundance of screen exposure can cause myopia/short-sightedness and can cause your eyes to squint. It leads to a deficit in attention and learning. An overuse of digital gadgets can affect interpersonal relationships as well because of a decrease in communication. Therefore, it becomes vital to monitor your child's screen time. You must refrain from rewarding them with extra screen time. Encourage them to take screen breaks to go play outside and interact with their peers.
- Age is a Bar - Children till the age of 2 should not be allowed to use any kind of digital gadgets. Children between 2 to 6 years of age can be allowed 1 hour of screen exposure. And up to 2 hours of screen exposure can be allowed for those from the ages of 6 to 12.
- Setting an Example - Children are like blank slates and can easily mirror whatever you do or say. So, while you're setting their screen time, make sure to follow the same rules as well. For example, if you allow your child only one hour of screen time in the evening, you must stick to it too.
- Don't Mess with the Sleep Cycle - Sleep is important for each one of us; especially children. Make sure that you and your child keep away all digital gadgets at least an hour before going to bed to avoid messing up your child's sleep cycle.
- The Famous 20-20-20 - See to it that your child takes a 20 second break, every 20 minutes and looks at an object that is 20 feet away.
- Blink Away! - More often than not, we forget to blink while on our phones or TV. Make sure that your child blinks frequently, so that the debris sitting on the surface of their eyes is cleaned out and their eyes are nourished with oxygen and nutrients.
Other Important Rules
Adjust the light of your child's digital screen and choose screens that swivel and tilt. Make sure that there is sufficient distance between their eyes and the screen. Wearing anti-reflective glasses while using digital devices can protect their eyes from blue light.