In this digital age, it has increasingly become a norm for today’s tech-savvy young generation to own a mobile phone, including our own children. These digital devices can be your child’s best friend as these gadgets can bring greater ease of convenience to their lives. However, as a parent, have you ever considered whether the use of mobile phones will benefit or harm your child’s health in any way? Is it safe for my child to stare at their phones for long periods of time? The truth is that just as much as digital devices are their best friend, they can be your child’s worst enemy as well and may cause problems for your child’s eyes.
Excessive mobile phone usage can cause eye problems among children
Your child’s act of using their mobile phone is not harmful per se, but it is more of a matter of whether they are practicing healthy habits while they are looking at the screens of their phones.
Research on the effects of digital devices on children’s eye health has revealed that unhealthy practices such as looking at the screens of their phones at a very close distance for long periods of time could lead to the development of dry eye symptoms like redness of the eyes or a stinging and burning sensation (2).
On top of that, these practices could place them at risk for the development of myopia, a condition that causes a progressive loss of vision if it is not treated properly (3).
After hearing all of this, you are probably very concerned about the safety of your child. Should you be taking away their devices from them? Rest assured; you do not need to go to that extent.
This does not mean the complete elimination of devices from their lives. Instead, as parents, what we can do for the safety of our children is to ensure that they practice healthy habits while they are using their phones.
What can be done to ensure that my children do not have eye problems from using their phones?
Fret not, the planoApp is here to guide you along the process of encouraging your children to practice safe habits while using their mobile devices. As the world’s first science-based app, the planoApp contains certain features that can help you to make sure that your child’s eye health is being taken care of.
1. Maintaining a safe face-to-screen distance
Your children may be putting their faces too close to their mobile screens and this could pose problems to their eye health. The planoApp ensures that this does not happen as it is able to detect when your child is looking at their device too closely and the app will then remind your child to hold their devices at a safe face-to-screen distance.
2. Taking regular eye breaks
When your child is too occupied with their mobile phones, they may tend to lose track of time and this ends up in them spending long hours over their devices. Not to worry, the planoApp prompts your child to take regular eye breaks so that they will rest their eyes in between their periods of screen time.
3. Stepping in as a parent
At times, it may be needed for us, as parents, to step in and take charge of our child’s eye health. If you feel that your child has been looking at the mobile screen for too long, the planoApp allows you to lock your child’s phone instantly at any time and from wherever you are. Also, you can conveniently schedule device-free timings so that your child is not allowed to use their phones at certain periods of time.
These steps may be very hard for our children to get used to at first, especially when they are so accustomed to using their devices. However, to prevent our children from encountering eye problems in the future, these hard steps are important ones to take. After all, the safety of our children is what we, as parents, are most concerned about.
(1) Smahel, D., Wright, M. F., & Cernikova, M. (2015). The impact of digital media on health: children’s perspectives. International journal of public health, 60(2), 131-137.
(2) Moon, J. H., Kim, K. W., & Moon, N. J. (2016). Smartphone use is a risk factor for pediatric dry eye disease according to region and age: a case control study. BMC ophthalmology, 16(1), 188.
(3) Gifford, K. L., Richdale, K., Kang, P., Aller, T. A., Lam, C. S., Liu, Y. M., … & Saunders, K. J. (2019). IMI–clinical management guidelines report. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 60(3), M184-M203.