Limiting Kids Screen Time Boosts Mood and Eye Health

Child looking at digital screenExcessive screen time may cause depression in children, so set healthy boundaries for your kids’ screen time to protect their emotional and visual health.

Too Much Screen Time Impacts Mood

Your kids are probably looking forward to winter break, but too much time on digital devices can bring on the blues. A recent study in Clinical Psychological Science suggests that increased use of digital devices can negatively impact mental wellbeing and can lead to isolation and depression.

Excess Screen Time Causes Digital Eye Strain

Too much time on digital devices also can also contribute to digital eye strain, a condition characterized by eye redness, dryness and irritation, as well as back pain, headaches and neck stiffness. Psychologists and ophthalmologists agree that kids are spending too much time on electronics, and parents are an integral part of the solution.

Set screen time limits for your children to promote their wellbeing and protect their vision. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Establish daily limits on screen time for the whole family. Screen time should not exceed two hours per person per day. Stick to this limit as much as possible, but make allowances for special occasions and events.
  2. To avoid digital eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at an object at least 20 feet away. Looking away from screens will help you blink regularly, which keeps your eyes moist and refreshed. At least once per hour, walk around during your 20-second break to prevent muscle pain and stiffness.
  3. Encourage your children to get moving and play outside before they get screen time. There are fewer daylight hours during the winter season, so send the kids outdoors for exercise before they use their digital devices in the evening.
  4. Say no to digital devices in bedrooms. Blue light from electronic devices and smartphones can disrupt circadian rhythms and natural sleep cycles. Instruct children to use devices in common areas, and set a specific time each evening that children must power down their devices.

Schedule Eye Exams with an Ophthalmologist

To ensure that your family has healthy vision, make yearly appointments for comprehensive eye exams with dilation. A full eye exam takes only an hour, but it offers a lifetime of benefits including early detection of eye diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. If you are not under the care of a board-certified eye physician, we can help. Click here for a list of eye care specialists who are accepting new patients.

Related Articles:

How the 20-20-20 Rule Can Help With Digital Eye Strain
Is Screen Time Affecting Your Eye Health?