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The Effects of Screen Time for Kids

Even though some devices have learning qualities, parents are beginning to worry their kids' excessive screen time.As the holidays approach, there are many digital gadgets children may be asking for or receiving. Some of the more popular gifts include flat-screen TVs, tablets, phones, streaming devices (Firestick, Roku, Apple TV, etc.), and gaming systems. Even Fisher-Price is offering the Think & Learn Smart Cycle, which syncs with a tablet for kids to play learning games while they ride the attached stationary bike. While some of these devices add learning opportunities, most of them come with added screen time, which may be cause for concern. The effects of excessive screen time are usually considered when adults work on computers for 8+ hours a day, but parents are starting to notice their children’s symptoms.

Device Use & Symptoms in Young People

In a survey of 300 US parents, half of the participants reported that their children spend too much time on devices. However, over two-thirds believe device usage won’t change and say they won’t be cutting back any time soon. Because of this excessive screen time, over 70% of parents admit that their children experience symptoms from device overuse. The top complaints include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Dried out eyes
  • Strained eyes
  • Tired eyes

What Can Eye Care Professionals Do to Help?

Most parents are aware that overuse of digital screens is part of the problem but don’t know how to fix it. In a survey of 114 US moms, 75% said that they take their children to an optometrist. This gives ODs an opportunity to help kids experience less screen time symptoms. Here are a few tips you can give your patients.

Excessive screen time can cause symptoms like headaches and tired eyes, but there are a few ways to reduce these issues.

While there’s no end in sight for excessive screen time for kids, there are ways to help your patients and their children reduce the symptoms associated with overusing devices. Start sharing these tips so your patients can enjoy a holiday season free of excessive screen time discomfort.



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  5. Photo credit: mikecogh on / CC BY-SA