TURN IT OFF…Screen Time and Young Kids

Concern about young children and screen viewing time has become a global issue. The World Health Organization did, in fact, release guidelines for children this April. Its recommendation? No screen time for infants under 1 and no more than an hour a day for kids under 5.

Tip: “On average Shamir Blue Zero™ blocks up to 3x more harmful blue light than a standard clear lens.”

75%of parents were concerned about viewing time damaging their young children’s eyes.

THE REALITY

• AOA: According to the AOA’s 2018 Eye-Q® consumer survey, 75% of participating parents were concerned about viewing time damaging their young children’s eyes.

• JAMA: According to an Alberta, Canada study that tracked young children ages 2-5, however, viewing time was much higher. As reported in JAMA Pediatrics, the study found that, “Higher levels of screen time in children aged 24 and 36 months were associated with poor performance on a screening measure assessing children’s achievement of development milestones at 36 and 60 months, respectively.”

SEDENTARY SYMPTOMS

As reported in Time online, according to study participant Sheri Madigan at University of Calgary in Canada, their research found that kids spent on average of 2-3 hours a day at a screen.

The researchers determined that over time, children who spent more time viewing TV or using computers did perform more poorly on the developmental measures. According to the findings, “The links remained strong even after they accounted for other factors that can influence developmental milestones, including parents’ education, how physically active the children were, and whether parents read to their children regularly.”

Put another way, Madigan says, “The results show that there is a lasting influence of screen time, especially when children are 2-5, when their brains are undergoing a period of tremendous development.”

Madigan also refers to missed opportunities “for learning and development. When a child is watching a screen, he or she is missing out on the opportunity for walking, talking, and interacting with others.”

The American Optometric Association concurs, pointing out some of the possible ramifications of excessive screen time:

* Diminished likelihood children will have the fine motor skills for writing when entering kindergarten.

* Reduction in vocabulary, communication skills, eye contact, attention, decision-making, problem solving, and cognitive control.

* Developmental delays with increased device use, along with a premature thinning of the cortex.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Alberta, Canada, study recommends family media plans because watching TV with a parent or caregiver can actually be positive. “Families can develop healthy media habits,” Madigan concludes. “Parents can point out interesting things and contribute to language skills and learning.”

VISUAL SOLUTIONS

When vision correction is required, offering the best visual solution for young eyes is critical. The experts at Shamir Insight know that, and, according to the company, “On average Shamir Blue Zero™ blocks up to 3x more harmful blue light than a standard clear lens. Children are particularly vulnerable since the lens of their eyes are more transparent, allowing in more blue light from TV screens and tablets.” 

How do you address the importance of limiting screen time for your youngest patients and describe the best visual solutions for them? Tell us and share in the conversation here on Facebook.

Erinn Morgan