Tips for kids and screen use
Updated May 12, 2020
Parents are dealing with kids using an unprecedented amount of screens during this time. While we can’t stop online learning, there are some proven tips that can help your child use screens in a way that reduces the impact on their vision and eye health. In addition to the tips below, we always recommend kids get at least 2-3 hours of outdoor time each day if possible. This benefits their eyes and vision as well as their whole body.
Ensure books or screens held at least 14″ away
Children’s eyes are able to adapt and focus easily at different distances. However, the more a child is focusing on objects close to their face, the harder their eyes have to work to maintain clear vision. Encourage your child to hold books and tablets at least 14″ away, and setup any computer use to do the same. If possible see if your child’s work can be projected on a TV screen that is even further away. In Portugal they revived “teleschool” during COVID-19 to help kids get lessons via their TV. If you notice your child moving the book or computer closer to their face constantly, they may have a vision issue. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child to have them checked out. Many providers are now offering telehealth options you can do from home.
Adopt a good reading posture
Many children will slump or tilt their head with extended reading or screen time. A proper posture sitting up in a chair helps ensure kids keep the reading material and a proper distance from their eyes. It also helps ensure they don’t tilt their head constantly, which may lead to a variability in the prescription between their eyes.
Take breaks frequently
Kids often get very focused on their favorite online game or book. Encourage them to take a break from any near work at least every 30 minutes. They should get up, ideally get outside and move their body and enable their eyes to focus on different distances. This is good for their visual health and body as well. It is hard for kids to remember this, so we recommend setting a timer to remind them.
One concern with all the indoor time kids have right now on screens is an increase in myopia (blurry distance vision). Untreated, myopia in children usually gets worse and their vision deteriorates. Make sure to schedule a comprehensive annual eye exam for your child, this is even more important now to ensure your child is seeing and performing their best. Our Myopia Resource Center keeps up with the latest information about myopia, and use our Make An Appointment feature to find a Treehouse Eyes provider in your area.