Why should I limit screen time for my kids?

 

For many families, getting children to spend time away from the screen is a task that is easier said than done. Video games and movies are more addicting than any other activity.

Screen time is a double edged sword :crossed_swords:: it gives you time to get work done around the house, but then your kids are glued to the screen, and often become combative when you want them to get their homework or chores done. The other main issue about digital play, is that children do not develop visual motor skills necessary to achieve at school and sports.

Visual skills are less developed when playing on a computer screen than playing in real life. Screen time doesn’t allow the eyes to learn to track over a large area, to change focus from near to far, or to use the eyes as a team to judge distances to develop depth perception, eye-hand and eye-body coordination. The reason is that the screen is flat or two-dimensional, and a relatively small area. In most video games, the background scrolls rather than the target moving so the eyes do not need to track over a large area. Visual motor skills need to be learned and developed through use, the same way that we learn to walk and talk. We are not born with these skills.

Visual skills such as tracking, accommodation and eye teaming skills are important for reading, writing and playing sports. Our eyes must move precisely and accurately to input and process visual information to do well in school and sports.

Whether it is a smartphone or computer monitor, extensive screen time also leaves kids feeling physically sluggish and their eyes feeling more tired and dry. The blue light from digital devices can also impair sleep because the brain thinks it is still daytime so melatonin production is decreased. With everyone staying indoors due to the COVID-19 precautions, it is even more difficult to limit screen time for your kids. The bottom line is your child needs playtime in real space to develop visual skills they need to be successful. So get your kids off the couch, and onto their feet to run around and play some old-fashioned games like tag, jump rope, or ball catch to develop better visual skills and eye hand coordination!

If you or your kids do experience problems with their eyes, our team is still available and here for you through telemedicine exams. You can schedule telemedicine exams through our website.

As a fitness enthusiast, Integrative Optometrist and Clinical Homeopath, Dr. Brisco has improved the lives of her patients for 30 years. Call (323) 521-4770 or www.HollywoodVision.com

Author
Dr. Elise Brisco

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