Technology is crucial in society today. However, with technology use increasing, children are exposed to harmful blue light, damaging visible light waves that can impact retinal function and eye health. Screen time can result in vision problems in youths transitioning into adulthood.
Children nowadays are growing up with increasing screen time, and brain development occurs differently because of their technological habits. They watch videos as babies; they use learning games and educational apps as toddlers. As they get older, kids incorporate not only tv screens in their daily activities, but they add in digital devices like iPhones, iPads, and laptops. In fact, Common Sense Media’s 2015 study found that children spend from four and a half hours (ages 8-12) to six and a half hours (ages 13-18) using blue-light emitting tools daily.
According to the American Optometric Association, “Children may be at higher risk for blue light retinal damage than adults. The juvenile lens absorbs less short-wavelength light than the adult lens, allowing more blue light to reach a child’s retina.”
Some quick statistics about digital usage:
- On average, children have a phone by 10 years old.
- Over 70% of children under 12 use tablets and iPads.
- 20% of tweens use over six hours of screen time per day.
- 45% of teens use the internet “almost constantly.”
- 84% of teens have game consoles at home.
In 2017, one in five teens admitted to watching 3 or more hours of shows daily. And 90% of teens have computer access. As you can see, children are definitely exposed to blue light during many hours of their day – whether they are in school or at home.
As a parent, you are not alone in worrying about your child’s screen time and vision health. Sixty-five percent of parents of teens are concerned about exposure to screens, and fifty-seven percent of parents limit online/cellphone usage. Children are physically progressing while their retinas encounter light that is detrimental to their health, so limiting their screen time is highly advisable.
- To be proactive, schedule an annual eye exam to protect your child’s vision health, too.
- Feed your children a daily diet containing Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Omega-3s, to supplement much-needed nutrients for developing youth.
- Additionally, you may want to add a supplement including lutein and zeaxanthin, such as Viteyes® Blue Light Defender gummies to their daily routine to help protect against blue light.
- Make sure your kids and teens are getting time away from their screens to give their eyes a break – reading books, spending time outside (with proper sunglass protection) and participating in non-screen activities (such as drawing or arts and crafts) – to limit their exposure to harmful blue light.