At what age is it okay for my kids to start using digital devices? How do you know when they’re watching TV too much? These are just some of the questions that the modern parent grapples with constantly.
In response to the these concerns, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its daily screen time recommendations for children under 5. The Institute for Control of Eye Myopia in Children, your go-to source for all your eye exam needs, elaborates on them further below.
The New Guidelines
Listed below are the WHO’s updated guidelines:
Infants 12 months and under should have no screen time at all.
The recommended amount of screen time for children between 1 to 2 years old varies, with one-year-olds receiving no screen time and two-year-olds having no more than an hour of screen time. Experts still agree that the less screen time, the better.
Three-to-four-year-olds should only get an hour of screen time at most.
The effects of excessive screen time on people’s vision is well-documented, with kids and adults alike having to undergo vision therapy to correct their vision problems. Excessive screen time is arguably more detrimental to infants, however. Beyond eye strain, too much screen time can cause developmental delays in a child.
Interacting with handheld objects is crucial in the development of motor skills. And since watching TV and other digital devices all day long promotes a sedentary lifestyle, kids with a lot of screen time don’t interact with their environment as such. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle can impair a child’s future performance at school; scientists have observed these children are less likely to have the fine motor skills needed for writing.
Children learn the most through seeing and doing. Therefore, any vision problem is likely to have a significant effect on their learning ability. At any age, it’s important that you take your child to the optometrist to have their vision checked. This way, the doctor can recommend the right vision correction options that will help your child’s development get back on track.
To learn more about these new guidelines, consult your local eye doctor.