Advances in modern day technology mean that millennials are the first generation of parents who have to figure out how to limit their children’s screen time. While distracting your screaming child with a digital device that offers entertainment and educational content might be tempting, unmonitored screen time can be harmful.
Establishing family rules with electronics can prevent them from suffering from Myopia in adulthood. While the condition develops at a young age, it becomes significantly worse during puberty as the body experiences rapid periods of growth.
If you’re an adult with myopia, it’s good to schedule and attend regular eye examinations. Your regular eye exams will give you the opportunity to discuss laser eye surgery to correct your refractive error.
The Negative Effects of Too Much Screen Time
Whether your family sits around the TV or stare continuously at smartphones, too much screen time is harmful. It’s important to understand how too much screen time could be harming the whole family;
Blue light emitted from screens often interferes with the sleep cycle in the brain and can lead to insomnia. If you have a child who uses their phone in bed, consider reducing their use to avoid a lack of concentration at school.
Children who sleep with electronic devices in their rooms get less sleep than those who leave their devices in another room. A child who suffers from sleep deprivation have an increased risk of obesity, lack-decision making skills, have a short attention span and often do less well in school.
As little as two hours of TV a day increases the chance of weight gain, diabetes and heart disease in adults. This is caused by less an inactive lifestyle, less sleep and bad eating habits when engrossed in a screen.
Looking at screens for long periods of time can lead to eye strain, dry eye, blurred vision, headaches and in some cases, refractive error.
Loss of Social Skills
Kids who spend a large amount of time using electronic devices can lack the social skills that help them to develop into well rounded adult. By reducing time spent interacting with other children in person, this could impede future relations in adolescence and adulthood.
Most of the conversations about the dangers of screen time focus on children, however, it’s important to recognize that adults may experience harmful effects as well.
Setting Family Boundaries with Electronics
It’s important to set a good example, therefore your child will find it difficult to take the electronic boundaries you’ve set seriously if you’re always on your mobile phone. It’s important to display healthy electronic consumption, scrolling through your phone or keeping the TV on for background noise will teach your child bad habits.
Before enforcing strict new rules, talk to your kids about the dangers of too much screen time. If you can calmly explain why long-term and unrestricted electronic use can result in lifelong vision damage.
Set Times to Unplug
Dinner time or an hour before bed are great times for the entire family to spend time together without phones, computers, TV and video games. Using your quality time to have fun and enjoy each other’s company is the perfect way to encourage your kids to value in-person interactions.
Plan Technology Free Activities
While watching a movie together or playing video games as a family are both fun activities, but it’s much healthier and productive to come up with a plan that involves zero screen time. Sunshine provides Vitamin D which is great for promoting healthy eye health, especially for children whose eyes are still developing. Plus, a lack of direct sunlight may reshape and distort the human eye, in some cases resulting in myopia.
Although the conversation surrounding the dangers of screen time is largely focused on the eye development of children, it’s important to remember can also experience harmful effects.
Gradually introducing a digital detox once a month will have fantastic benefits for your family’s emotional and physical development, as well as your relationship.