Growing minds and bodies of children make them uniquely vulnerable to the effects of the environment around them.
Nowadays, children tend to spend more time staring at digital screens, such as computers, tablets, TVs, smartphones and other devices. All that screen time can have harmful effects on children's wellbeing.
Children as young as 6 months old start zooming in on digital media devices, such as their parents' tablets or smartphones.
Some harmful effect of these gadgets on children1,2
- Eye problems, headache, concentration difficulties: Muscles around the eye can get tired from continued use of these devices. Concentrating on a screen for an extended duration can result in concentration difficulties and headaches and painful eyes. Children may also use screen devices with lighting is less than advisable, resulting in fatigue from squinting.
- Blurry vision: Staring at the same distance for a longer duration can cause the eye's focusing system to temporarily "lock up." This can cause a child's vision to blur when they look away from the screen.
- Dry eyes: People tend to blink significantly less often when concentrating on a digital screen, which can cause eyes dry and irritated. Desktop and laptop computer use can be especially stressful for children's eyes.
- Speech or language delay: Screen time steals the time of children which they can spend by talking and communicating with others. The study reported that the more time children between the ages of six months and two years spent using smartphones, tablets and electronic games, the more likely they were to experience speech delays.
- Give Your Child's Eyes a Screen-Time Break: Here's Why[Internet]. Available from: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/eyes/Pages/What-Too-Much-Screen-Time-Does-to-Your-Childs-Eyes.aspx. Accessed on Mar 2, 2020.
- Sundus M. The Impact of using Gadgets on Children. J Depress Anxiety. 2018;7:296.