Tablet computers offer a wide range of applications adapted to children as young as three years old: ebooks, educational games, interactive videos and much more. And while these apps can be excellent learning tools, it’s important to ensure that their use doesn’t turn into a bad habit for your children. 

The detrimental effects of our screens

It’s now a well-known fact that the blue light emitted by digital screens is harmful to our eyes, regardless of age.

In fact, blue light can trigger a number of symptoms related to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS):

  • blurred vision
  • dry eyes
  • eye strain

Extended exposure to blue light also affects melatonin, otherwise known as the “sleep hormone.” Children need more sleep than adults, and a poor sleep not only affects concentration but can lead to more serious health issues over the long term, such as diabetes or obesity. 

Less obvious but just as concerning is the fact that when children spend too many hours in front of digital screens, they risk being less able to identify social benchmarks. If immersed in the virtual world at a very young age, they may have greater difficulty adapting to the outside world.

Recommendations for every age

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly warns against exposing children under the age of three to screens and recommends limits for children above three:

  • Ages 3 to 6: no more than 1 hour per day
  • Ages 6 to 9: no more than 2 hours per day
  • Ages 9 and up: use can exceed 3 hours, provided you ensure your child has other activities and is not in front of the screen for more than 20 minutes at a time.

These recommendations apply to all screens: televisions, tablets, mobile devices, etc.

A few added precautions

Pay particular attention to the distance your child sits from the screen; a minimum of 30 centimetres is recommended. Also, children who wear glasses for this purpose should wear them whenever they are looking at a screen. It’s also wise to consult your Opto-Réseau optometrist about regular eye examinations for your child. 

The Opto-Réseau team closest to you will be pleased to provide you with more information and tips. Find your nearest clinic here.