It is a fact we live in an increasingly technological society. We are slowly moving away from paper based literature and using innovative media such as laptops, tablets, phones and wearable devices. This change not only affects us but also children.
In my experience some parents are very anti-technology and actively prevent their children from using devices. Personally I think this is a shame as it can put children on a 'back foot' when it comes to learning to use technology and learning how to control their personal usage.
As a father of a three year old girl I do let my daughter use my tablet or laptop, and I have since she was about 18 months old. Now to some that is way too early but Ava now has the dexterity and hand eye co-ordination to use a track-pad, she can scroll through photos or watch an episode of Peppa Pig without too much effort. At the same time I have instilled (hopefully) good habits so that she can continue to use technology in the correct way, and I will reinforce these habits regularly.
Habit 1. Control the duration of use - Device use should be limited to reduce fatigue to the ciliary muscle in the eye. The duration of time is a matter of contention. Personally 30 mins is more than enough in one sitting.
Habit 2. Control viewing distances - Most children will want to immerse themselves into their programme of choice. To do that they will move closer and closer to the screen. That way peripheral distractions are reduced to allow full concentration on the entertainment in front of them. Of course, sometimes it is a genuine visual problem so if the child is unhappy when you push the device further away from them it is wise to have their eyes examined to check for an uncorrected prescription.
Habit 3. Stop use at a fixed time before bed - Most devices emit blue light of wavelengths that are thought to reduce the melatonin levels in the brain and in doing so altering the natural body clock (circadian rhythm). Think about how you can stay awake for longer when you are looking at your phone/tablet when in bed. I recommend cessation of all device use 1 hour before bed to encourage a good nights sleep.
These are just a few pointers I practice at home/work but I also think regular eye examinations are important and for children under 16 it is free.
Computer use has become so commonplace nowadays that we barely notice It. Millions of people spend their working day viewing a monitor, while most of us rely on our desktops and laptops for leisure, communications, shopping and academic study. However, the human eye was never designed to focus for long periods of time on brightly illuminated, motionless objects, so a little common-sense and pragmatism is required.
The most common monitor-based sight issues include headaches, dry eyes, fatigue and a gradual loss of sharp vision.A good tip for relaxing eye muscles is to take a brief break every 20 minutes. Regular blinking should prevent uncomfortable dryness, but we blink much less when gazing at
computer screens, so moistening drops might be a wise purchase.
Ergonomic monitor positioning is another vital component in preventing eye strain. The screen
should be two feet away and at normal eye level, without any strong lights behind or beside
it. Brightness settings should be reasonably low, with font sizes large enough to read without squinting. Anti-reflective coatings and screen filters can soften harsh strip lights or dazzling sunshine, and LCD/LED monitors are far less reflective than the chunky old cathode-ray units of
yesteryear. Always keep screens as clean as possible, because your eyes will rapidly tire of trying to focus through a layer of dust or grime.
Finally, eye examinations are always important and regular check-ups can help to identify possible VDU-related issues and keep your eyes in good condition to cope with the demands of today's screen work.
For more information, or to make an appointment, please call us 01279 757767