Tech-obsessed kids risking eye health due to excessive screen use

Children are spending two hours or more a day in front of screened devices, according to new research.

The study by BenQ, a world-leading human technology and solutions provider, reveals that 74 per cent of children spend on average 14 hours a week using screened devices at home. In contrast only 11 per cent  of parents say their children spend more than 10 hours playing outside a week.​

The poll interviewed 500 UK parents of children aged 15 years or under.

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Peter Huang, Vice President of Technology Product Centre at BenQ commented: “The time children spend using screened devices shows no signs of slowing down. Rather than create a battle over limiting usage, parents can mitigate potential issues by paying more attention to the environments in which their children are using technology.

“Providing adequate lighting for screen viewing can go a long way to reducing eyestrain for example, and this goes beyond simply setting the screen brightness on the device.”

The research also ​found that 72 per cent of parents are happy to allow their kids to use a smartphone or tablet.

With such high technology usage, only 18 per cent of parents say they did not worry about their child’s eye health when using screened devices, with 64 per cent citing worries about behavioural issues and 34 per cent concerned about poor posture. 

Over half (55 per cent) say they are also anxious about the impact of the use of screened devices on their child’s eye health, but it’s a worryingly low percentage given that 32 per cent of parents have themselves experienced issues including headaches, blurred vision and eye irritation after using a screened device.

Furthermore, just 36 per cent of parents ensure there is adequate lighting when their child is using a tablet or smartphone, which could be the reason behind 44 per cent of parents not realising the connection between poor lighting and eyestrain.

Dr. Steve Schallhorn, Chief Medical Director at Optical Express, said: “It is estimated that over half of all people who work at computers, or use them for prolonged periods, suffer from eye strain. Symptoms of eye strain include headaches, blurred vision, difficulty focusing, gritty eyes and increased sensitivity to light.

“Taking regular breaks allows your eyes to re-adjust and can prevent eye strain becoming a chronic problem. Children are spending increasingly long times in front of screens and are therefore at greater risk of eye strain. Unlike other health issues parents often can’t see the problem, so if you or your child experience headaches, discomfort or are in any way worried about your eyesight consult an optician.”

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