How to reduce your child’s screen time?

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While digital devices keep your children busy while you finish your household chores, you don’t want them to consume too much screen time. 

Children are spending more time on digital screens than ever these days. Whether they have online classes to attend or they use your tablet and smartphone just for fun, it is crucial to keep an eye on your ward’s screen usage. 

All this digital media can mess with your child’s health, especially their optic health. However, limiting your child’s digital consumption is difficult in this screen-filled world. Taking simple measures such as regular breaks from these devices or using blue lens glasses for computer use will help you secure your child’s vision.

Why cut down screen time?

With COVID-19 and online learnings, kids are spending most of their time staring at a digital screen. Moreover, they are also using computers, tablets and smartphones for entertainment and socialising with their friends.

However, if your child is spending more than 6 hours a day on digital devices, they are at the risk of following vision-related problems.

Computer vision syndrome

Also known as digital eye strain, it is a condition caused by excessive screen usage. Computer vision syndrome triggers a set of symptoms including headache, fatigue, dry eyes, sore eyes and blurred vision. 

If your child has been complaining about any of these symptoms or neck or shoulder pain, it is time you start motoring their screen time. You can also schedule an eye test to check your kid’s vision. 

If your kid wears glasses, add a coating of blue light filter on the lenses. Or buy prescription glasses online with anti-blue light coating on the lenses.

Bad posture 

When we are looking at a screen, it is common to slouch a little and slightly bend our shoulders. This rather unhealthy posture is known as turtling that will lead to neck, shoulder or back pain over time. If your kid does this too, make sure that they are standing straight when using a computer or laptop. 

Myopia

The increasing usage of digital devices among children has increased their chances of developing vision conditions such as myopia or nearsightedness. Where excessive screen time can cause digital eye strain, if you don’t give up this habit, it may even cause your distant vision to decline. 

If your child refuses to wear glasses because they feel heavy on their face, get designer glasses with thin titanium or metallic frames which can be easily found online. You may even go for rimless as they would feel almost weightless on your child’s face.

Exposure to blue light

High-energy blue light is emitted by the digital screens which is extremely harmful for your child’s retinal health. When blue light penetrates the retina, it damages the retinal cells making you more vulnerable to eye conditions such as cataract or age-related macular-degeneration.

Have a pair of good-quality computer glasses for your child. To find affordable glasses, consider buying online. Most companies offer next day delivery for glasses online with free shipping. 

Tips to reduce your child’s screen time

Here are some tips that would help you set healthy screen time limits for your kids.

Healthy screen time

‘Practice what you preach’. If you spend hours binge-watching your favourite Netflix shows, what example are you setting for your child?

Limit your digital consumption and let your kids learn from you. Scrolling your social media feed every now and then isn’t gonna help when you are trying to reduce your child’s screen time.

Frequent breaks from screens

Get them to practice the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time, take your focus away from your screen and look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will relax their eye muscles and protect them from the symptoms of digital eye strain.

Also, tell them to blink their eyes more often when looking at a screen to prevent the discomforts associated with dry eyes.

Check their posture

Encourage your kids to sit straight when using a computer or laptop. Get them to move their head up and down to take the stress away from their neck and shoulder. 

If they have a habit of placing the screen on their lap, ask them to put it on their study table and then use it. Also, get them to stand up and scratch their body to avoid the physical discomforts of digital eye strain.

Make screen time a prize

Don’t let your kid use the smartphone or tablet whenever they want. For instance, you can ask your kid to complete their homework first and allow them to use their phone or video game as a reward. But, if you have set a daily limit for screen time, stick to that limit. Don’t give them extra screen time as a reward

Screen-free bedroom

You won’t have a control over your child’s screen habits if their bedroom is filled with devices. Make a rule that devices like TV, video games and computers won’t be allowed in their bedroom. 

If your child uses digital media at night, it might interfere with their sleeping pattern. Making their bedroom free from any devices will help them sleep better.

The final word

Schedule annual eye exams for your kids so that you can spot even a slight change in their vision. Children and digital devices are almost inseparable. Use these tips to secure your child’s vision for years to come.

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