Impact of electronic devices on children's health
How can children use digital devices well?
Mobile phones, ipads, tablets, TV, computers and whiteboards are all new ways of learning for children. Here are some guidelines how they should be used well.
It is important that children have a yearly eye test (or as recommended by an Optometrist). Eye tests are FREE under the NHS until children are 16. We recommend that you do not wait until they start school before they have an eye test. We test children from age 2.
1) Make sure children are sitting comfortably
Children should be well supported and not sit too close to the screen
The screen should be placed at eye level
2) Help children use the equipment well
Keep screens clean from dirt and fingerprints
Large screens are easier to see than smaller ones
Turn the brightness of the screen down, as many are set to 100% brightness
3) Make sure children take regular breaks from screens
It is recommended that children age 2 to 5 years old do not use screens for more than an hour a day
Ideally this should be broken up into 10 to 15 minute time periods
Screens are not recommended for those under 18 months old
4) Turn off the 3D effect for children under 6 years old
Many manufacturers such as Nintendo, Sony, Samsung and LG have issued health and safety guidelines on this
5) Encourage children to spend time outdoors
Nowadays the focusing distance is a lot shorter as children regularly use mobile phones, ipads and computers etc.
Looking into the distance by playing outside means they are less likely to be short-sighted
6) Restrict screen use in the hour before bedtime
This can help children feel much calmer and have a better quality of sleep
This was the key piece of advice from a Panaroma documentary in March 2016. It reported how children in England are the most sleep deprived in Europe
7) Think about anti-reflective coatings on spectacles
Anti-reflection coatings cut down the glare from screen based devices; mobiles, ipads, tablets, computers and white boards
Children's eyes will feel less tired, and they will see more clearly
8) See an Optometrist if you or your child has red eyes, watery eyes, rubbing eyes or eye strain
These can be side effects of using screens
An Optometrist will check if they need a vision correction, make recommendations or may prescribe eye drops if necessary.