Checklist To Reduce Screen Time Use For Children
Children’s use of digital media has increased dramatically and begins early in childhood. High screen time use in children is associated with a risk for obesity, poorer school performance, poorer sleep quality, risky behaviors in older children, as well as delays in critical cognition, learning, and social skills in younger children.
At Doctors Eyecare Wetaskiwin, we understand that as a parent reducing your child’s screen time can be quite a challenge and can also be viewed as a stressful or laborious task. But with a little encouragement, you can encourage your child to limit daily screen time.
As experienced eye doctors, we’ve created a handy checklist to help you foster healthy screen time habits for your child. The following steps outline recommendations for the safe use of electronic screens for children.
1. Limit screen time
Limit screen time, including television, computers, tablets, smartphones, and video games. Infants and toddlers under two years of age should have zero screen time. Preschool children between two to five years of age should have no more than one hour per day of age-appropriate, educational, and supervised viewing. School-age children between five to eighteen years of age should ideally have no more than two recreational screen time hours. Individual screen time plans should be based on development and needs.
2. Take breaks
Make sure your child takes a break from the screen every thirty to sixty minutes. Breaks should include whole-body physical activity.
3. Go outdoors
Encourage outdoor activity over screen time. Increased prevalence or progression of myopia (nearsightedness) has been linked with children spending fewer hours outdoors.
4. Position the computer to avoid eye strain
For computers, place the top of the display at the child’s eye level, and then allow them to move the screen down into a comfortable viewing position as needed. Make sure that there is no glare or reflection on the screen.
5. Stop evening screen time
Avoid using a screen one hour before bedtime. A screen in the bedroom is not recommended.
6. Get a regular eye exam
Ensure your child has regular eye exams! Every parent wants their child to be happy and healthy, and part of that is ensuring their visual system functions properly and is free of disease.
If you have any concerns about your child’s eyesight or need help in reducing the negative effect of screen time, reach out to Doctors Eyecare Wetaskiwin. As experienced optometrists, we strive to deliver high-quality care, products, and service to people of all ages. We offer a full range of eye health services, including routine eye exams and vision tests, eye disease diagnosis and management, immediate attention for eye emergencies, and complete eye health management. Our services are extended to patients across Wetaskiwin, Millet, Maskwacis, Pigeon Lake, and the surrounding areas.