You find your son playing with the phone when you want to say him good night.
Or your daughter is busy texting with friends when she is supposed to be reading.
Children and their phones are inseparable today, and all that reading and playing games on their handheld devices may be harming their vision.
To reduce screen time, some parents ban phones at the dinner table. This applies to both adults and children. And in some homes, playing games or texting must stop two hours before bedtime.
To put a hard stop on screen time, some moms and dads set time limits on their children’s daily device use. For example, when a total of two hours of screen time has been reached, no more texting, game playing or YouTube watching.
Definition of “screen time”
“Screen time” is the time spent by a person by looking at the digital screen of a computer, tablet (e.g. iPad) and smart phone.
According to the American Vision Council, 72 percent of American parents report their children routinely engage in more than two hours of screen time per day. And it’s very likely most kids actually spend significantly more time staring at screens than their parents think they do.
As kids grow, their screen time tends to grow with them. And even very young children these days are spending a significant amount of time each day staring at screens. According to Common Sense Media, young children in the U.S. spend the following amount of time each day using digital devices:
- Kids under 2 years of age: 42 minutes per day
- Kids ages 2 to 4: 2.5 hours per day
- Children ages 5 to 8: nearly 3 hours per day
Why might too much screen time be a problem for kids?
The Vision Council says 30 percent of parents report their children experience at least one of the following symptoms after being exposed to more than two hours of screen time per day:
- Neck/shoulder pain
- Eye strain, dry or irritated eyes
- Reduced attention span
- Poor behaviour