Computers and screen time are essential for online learning, but we know that eye strain is something we need to be aware of and prevent.
Children do not naturally set boundaries for themselves, and as adults it is our job to teach moderation. It begins with having conversations with children about digital eye strain and how electronic devices affect eye health. You can even ask your children to help set guidelines for electronics and come up with a family plan.
Here are some ideas for your family plan:
- Model good habits. If you limit your children to an hour of screen time in the evenings, try to adhere to the same guidelines yourself.
- Create a “bedtime” for devices. Too much screen time can interfere with natural sleep cycles, so turn off all devices at least one hour before children go to bed. Have a designated place (like the kitchen) where you charge all devices at night. This is a great way to avoid temptation!
- Remember 20-20-20. Teach your children this rule of thumb: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at an object at least 20 feet away.
- Blink! Staring at digital screens decreases our blink rate. Remind your children to blink their eyes more often than they think they need to, and this will help keep their eyes moist.
- Teach your children about the importance of positioning. Create sufficient distance between the screen and your eyes. Keep hand-held devices a good distance from the eyes and just below eye level.
- Adjust the brightness of screens and change the background color to cool gray. Consider adding a blue light filter to smartphones and tablets.
- Increase text size on screens.
- Try not to use “more screen time” as a reward. Keep within your agreed-upon family limit.
Teaching children about moderation is an important life skill, so feel confident in setting healthy boundaries.