Prolonged screen time leaving a generation of short-sighted kids at risk

screen time

Anglia Ruskin University researchers claim that the authors of the study are primarily concerned with the crucial topic of whether future generations’ significant increases in screen time would have any negative effects on their long-term health. 

Researchers worry that the increased global use of digital devices by children may soon begin to have an impact on their overall health and vision. Previous research has linked increased screen usage to a range of diseases and disorders. 

Put aside the amusement for a second, COVID-19 made remote learning mandatory in schools all across the world. Since more than two years ago, students have used computers and iPads to learn their studies, which results in much greater daily online time. 

Screen Time Is Rising All Over the World 

The research team looked at a number of smaller studies from around the globe that showed significant increases in adolescent screen use. According to a Canadian research, 89 percent of parents acknowledge that their children use screens for significantly longer periods of time than the two hours per day recommended by Canadian health experts. 

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Another study, this one from Chile, found that screen time had nearly doubled to over three hours per day for preschoolers and toddlers. Meanwhile, Tunisian researchers reveal a startling 111 percent rise in local kids’ overall screen time between the ages of five and twelve. 

“It is essential to be aware of the potential risks to children’s eye and general health, both in the short and long terms. In a university announcement, lead study author Professor Shahina Pardhan, Director of the Vision and Eye Research Unit at ARU, stresses the importance of responsible gadget use as well as the promotion of outdoor play and other activities. 

“Schools may ensure that the use of digital devices is maximized for educational purposes while encouraging reduced use of these devices for other activities. Governments should collaborate with schools to develop home-based learning policies that support independent learning without the use of technology, including supporting frequent screen breaks and other activities, she adds. 

Screens Leading To ‘Binocular Vision’ 

The ability to use both eyes effectively to generate a single visual image, unstable “binocular vision,” uncorrected refractive error, dry eyes, and eye strain are more specific eye problems associated with increased screen usage. 

The data gathered also shows that kids using numerous digital gadgets at once is alarmingly common. For instance, viewing Netflix or YouTube on one device while scrolling through social media on a smartphone. According to the findings, this kind of “device switching” increases eye fatigue by 22% as a result of the continuous ocular adjustments that are required. 

Sedentary Behavior Could Affect Health as Well 

More screen time can harm your eyes, as well as your neck and shoulders and increase your overall inactive time. Additionally, research links increased risk of obesity and overeating to screen time. 

“We consider it a great blessing that students have been able to make up for the pandemic’s lack of in-person instruction by using technology. However, we must be conscious of the hazards to their physical health posed by this increased screen time, says Dr. Robin Driscoll, a research co-author. 

Teachers and parents should be pushed to improve the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents in the pandemic and beyond by raising knowledge of the hazards connected with high levels of digital screen use and providing solutions to lessen the adverse impacts, says Dr. Driscoll. 

The findings appear in the Journal of School Health. 

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