The end of the year is gift-giving time and for many children, that means digital devices and video games. Roy de Jesus of Bay News 9 reached out to Dr. Nate to talk about how the size of the screen matters.
Many people are have learned that more screen time at younger ages is not best. Man parents are familiar with the recent World Health Organization's screen time recommendations for chidlren. Here are WHO's screen time recommendations by age:
- Infant (less than 1 year of age): Screen time is not recommended.
- 1-2 years of age: No screen time for a 1-year-old. No more than an hour for 2-year-olds, with less time preferred.
- 3 to 4 years old: No more than one hour.
But not everyone realizes that the size of the screen matters, too. It is not just whether kids can see the device but how harder their eyes have to work to be able to see it. Basically, the smaller the screen the more the eyes have to work.
Here is what happens:
- Kids want to see more detail on the small screen.
- They hold the device closer than they would normally hold a book or a larger screen.
- The closer the eyes have to focus, the harder the eyes have to work to make the screen clear
- The eyes have to turn inward to keep the screen from becoming double.
- This extra effort can cause eyestrain.
- In the short team, this discomfort may lead to unwanted behavior or frustration.
- Long term, this can contribute to myopia or other vision problems.
Fortunately, you do not need to throw out the new devices. Here are some things you can do:
- As parents, role model proper device use yourself
- Participate in screen time with your children and observer their behavior.
- Enforce regular screen breaks with outside time.
- Educate kids on Harmon Distance AKA Elbow Distance and enforce it.
If children complain of persistent symptoms such a burning eyes, blurry vision, double vision, and symptoms such as headaches, it is important that a thorough eye exam is done to look for underlying eye and vision problems. Both Dr. Nate and Dr. Beth are residency-trained in children's vision. You can request an appointment or call (813)-792-0637.