Managing Screen Time For Children To Stop Myopia To Help Stop Myopia
My-iClinic
Managing Screen Time For Children To Stop Myopia

Managing Screen Time For Children To Stop Myopia

Category:
Myopia Control
John Bolger|
February 27, 2024
|
44
Share

In an era dominated by digital technology, screen time management for children has emerged as a pressing concern for parents, educators, and policymakers alike. With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, computers, and other electronic devices, children are spending increasingly more time engaged with screens. Recognising the potential risks associated with excessive screen time, governments around the world, including the UK, have implemented legislation and guidelines aimed at safeguarding children's well-being in the digital age. In the UK, for instance, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) published the Online Harms White Paper in 2019, outlining plans for a comprehensive regulatory framework to address online harms, including measures to protect children from exposure to harmful content and to promote responsible use of digital platforms among young users. Additionally, the UK government has collaborated with industry stakeholders to introduce initiatives such as the Age Appropriate Design Code, which sets out standards for online services to ensure that they are age-appropriate, safe, and protect children's privacy. These legislative efforts underscore the importance of actively managing children's screen time to mitigate potential risks and foster healthy digital habits from an early age.

Screen Time Management Overview

Effective screen time management is crucial for children's well-being. Below are guidelines for adults to help regulate and balance screen time.

Time Frame Guidelines
School Days: Limit screen time to 1-2 hours per day for recreational use. Allocate additional time for educational purposes as needed.
Weekends/Holidays: Allow 2-3 hours of screen time per day for leisure activities. Encourage outdoor play and family time alongside screen use.
Days Off: Consider implementing screen-free days to encourage alternative activities such as outdoor adventures, creative projects, or family outings.
Night Time Shutdown: Establish a digital curfew at least 1 hour before bedtime to promote better sleep quality. Encourage relaxation activities before sleep, such as reading or listening to music.
Extended Times for Gaming: Allocate up to 2 hours for gaming sessions on weekends or holidays. Set clear start and end times, and encourage breaks for physical activity and rest.
Reduced Times for School Days: Prioritise academic and extracurricular activities during weekdays. Limit recreational screen time to 30-60 minutes after completing homework and chores.

Monthly Time Distribution

Below is a pie chart representing the time distribution across various activities in a month. We have used the total hours as a guidance for each monthly activity.

monthly-time-chart

Download Our Free Parent Time Planner

The Negative Effects Of Too Much Screen Time

Excessive screen time among children has become a prevalent concern in today's digital age, with growing evidence pointing to various negative effects on their health and well-being. Among these concerns, the impact on eyesight stands out as particularly significant, especially in the context of rising rates of myopia among children. As a specialist in myopia management for children, My-iClinic recognises the importance of addressing this issue comprehensively. Below, we delve into the negative effects of excessive screen time, with a specific focus on its implications for eyesight and myopia development.

1. Eye Strain and Fatigue

Prolonged exposure to screens, whether from smartphones, tablets, computers, or televisions, can lead to eye strain and fatigue. The visual demands imposed by screens, including prolonged focusing and exposure to blue light, can cause discomfort, dryness, and irritation in the eyes. Over time, this can contribute to a worsening of symptoms and may exacerbate existing vision problems.

2. Increased Risk of Myopia

Studies have shown a clear association between excessive screen time and the development and progression of myopia, particularly in children. Extended periods of near work, such as reading or using digital devices, can lead to elongation of the eyeball and subsequent myopia development. With the prevalence of screen-based activities in children's daily lives, the risk of myopia has become a growing concern for eye health professionals.

3. Disruption of Circadian Rhythms

Exposure to the blue light emitted by screens, especially in the evening hours, can disrupt the body's natural circadian rhythms. This disruption can affect the quality and duration of sleep, leading to sleep disturbances and fatigue. Inadequate sleep not only impacts overall health and cognitive function but can also influence eye health and contribute to the progression of myopia.

4. Reduced Outdoor Time

Excessive screen time often displaces outdoor activities, which are crucial for maintaining healthy vision and overall well-being. Spending time outdoors exposes children to natural light, which is essential for regulating the growth of the eyeball and reducing the risk of myopia. Conversely, prolonged indoor screen time can limit exposure to outdoor light and exacerbate the onset and progression of myopia.

5. Poor Visual Habits

Frequent and prolonged use of screens can promote poor visual habits, such as excessive near-work and inadequate breaks. Children may develop a tendency to maintain close working distances and neglect proper ergonomic positioning while using digital devices, increasing the strain on their eyes and contributing to myopia development.

As a specialist in myopia management, My-iClinic emphasises the importance of addressing these negative effects through proactive measures aimed at reducing screen time, promoting outdoor activities, and fostering healthy visual habits in children. By raising awareness of the impact of excessive screen time on eyesight and myopia development, we can work towards safeguarding the vision and well-being of future generations.

Managing Screen Time With Our Top 10 Solutions

Managing screen time can be a daunting task for parents, fraught with challenges and complexities. The relentless pace of modern life often leaves little time for monitoring and regulating children's screen usage, leading to a loss of control over their digital habits. It's easy for parents to forget or overlook the amount of time their children spend on screens, especially with the proliferation of multiple devices and the constant lure of digital entertainment. Moreover, the pervasive nature of screens means that children may surreptitiously engage with them, even at night, without their parents' knowledge or supervision, disrupting sleep patterns and exacerbating the negative impact on their well-being. Additionally, the addictive nature of digital content can make it difficult for children to self-regulate their screen time, leading to excessive use and potential dependency on electronic devices for entertainment and social interaction. Recognising these challenges is crucial for parents in developing proactive strategies to effectively manage and mitigate the risks associated with excessive screen time in today's digital age.

safeguarding-children-with-screen-time

By empowering parents with effective strategies, these management tools offer practical approaches to guide children's screen time usage and foster a healthy balance between digital engagement and other enriching activities.

1. Set Clear Guidelines

Establish clear and consistent guidelines regarding screen time limits and usage rules. Communicate these guidelines to your children and ensure they understand the importance of balanced screen time habits.

2. Lead by Example

Be a positive role model by demonstrating healthy screen time habits yourself. Limit your own screen time in front of your children and prioritise activities that promote face-to-face interaction, outdoor play, and other non-screen-related pursuits.

3. Create Tech-Free Zones and Times

Designate specific areas in your home, such as bedrooms and mealtime areas, as tech-free zones. Similarly, set designated times during the day or week when screens are not allowed, encouraging alternative activities and family bonding time.

4. Use Parental Controls

Take advantage of parental control features available on electronic devices and internet routers to manage and monitor your children's screen time. Utilise features such as screen time limits, app restrictions, and website filters to ensure age-appropriate and safe digital experiences.

Here are instructions for using parental controls on Android devices with Family Link and on Apple devices:

For Android Users (Family Link):

managing-time-on-google-phones

1. Set Up Family Link: Install the Google Family Link app on your device and your child's device. Follow the prompts to set up Family Link for your child's Google Account.

2. Manage App Usage: In the Family Link app, you can view the apps installed on your child's device and set daily screen time limits for individual apps.

3. Set Screen Time Limits: Family Link allows you to set daily screen time limits for your child's device usage. You can customise these limits for weekdays and weekends.

4. Approve or Block Apps: You can approve or block specific apps that your child wants to download from the Google Play Store. Family Link also provides recommendations for age-appropriate apps.

5. Manage Content Restrictions: Family Link enables you to filter content on Google Play, YouTube, and Chrome to ensure age-appropriate browsing and viewing.

6. Locate Your Child's Device: Family Link includes a location tracking feature that allows you to locate your child's device on a map.

For Apple Users:

managing-time-on-apple-phones

1. Set Up Screen Time: Go to Settings on your child's device and select Screen Time. Tap Turn On Screen Time, then tap Continue. Follow the prompts to set up Screen Time for your child's device.

2. Set App Limits: In Screen Time settings, tap on App Limits. You can set time limits for categories of apps or individual apps. Adjust the limits according to your preferences.

3. Downtime: Downtime allows you to schedule periods when your child's device can only access certain apps or phone functions. Go to Downtime in Screen Time settings to set up the schedule.

4. Content & Privacy Restrictions: This feature allows you to restrict access to certain content and features, such as explicit content, in-app purchases, and location services. Navigate to Content & Privacy Restrictions in Screen Time settings to customise the restrictions.

5. Ask to Buy: If your child has their own Apple ID for Family Sharing, you can enable Ask to Buy. This feature requires parental approval before your child can make purchases or download apps from the App Store.

By using these parental control features, Android and Apple users can effectively manage and monitor their children's screen time and ensure a safer and more balanced digital experience.

5. Encourage Balanced Activities

Encourage a balanced lifestyle by promoting a variety of activities beyond screen time. Encourage physical activity, creative play, reading, and social interactions to provide alternative outlets for your children's time and energy.

6. Engage in Screen-Time Activities Together

When screen time is permitted, consider engaging in interactive and educational activities together with your children. Choose high-quality, age-appropriate apps, games, and media content that promote learning, creativity, and positive values.

7. Monitor Content and Engagement

Regularly monitor the content your children are accessing online and their engagement with digital media. Stay informed about the apps, websites, and social media platforms they use, and have open conversations about online safety, privacy, and responsible digital citizenship.

8. Establish Screen-Free Bedtime Routine

Create a screen-free bedtime routine to promote better sleep quality and overall well-being. Encourage winding down with calming activities such as reading, storytelling, or listening to music instead of using screens before bedtime.

9. Encourage Outdoor Play and Physical Activity

Prioritise outdoor play and physical activity as essential components of your children's daily routine. Allocate time for outdoor exploration, sports, and recreational activities to promote physical health, social skills, and eye health.

10. Stay Flexible and Adapt

Be flexible and willing to adapt your screen time rules and strategies based on your children's individual needs, developmental stages, and changing circumstances. Continuously assess and adjust your approach to screen time management to ensure it remains effective and supportive of your children's well-being.

My-iClinic Leads The Way For Children With Myopia

Ready to give your child the gift of clear vision and a brighter future? Look no further than My-iClinic, the trusted leader in myopia management for children. With our unparalleled expertise and cutting-edge vision correction services, we're dedicated to helping children overcome myopia and achieve optimal eye health. Don't let myopia hold your child back – schedule a consultation with My-iClinic today and take the first step towards a lifetime of clear vision and success!

Find out more by Speaking to our team

0208 445 8877