As parents it can be amazing for us to see just how quickly our kids pick up and start using a computer. For the parent generation, we have had to learn and adapt to use computers whereas for today’s children it is easy for them as it is all they have ever known. Kids these days spend hours on the computer and it is only natural for parents to worry about whether or not it is damaging their eyes. The first thing to say is that excessive computer use will not damage your child’s eyes. This is also true of kids who sit or stand incredibly close to the TV! However if your child does sit very close to the TV it is advisable to take them for an eye test.
Although I said the excessive computer work will not damage your children’s eyes this does not mean it is good for them. If you child is already short sighted, doing a lot if close work (this also includes reading) can cause them to become more short sighted. The other problem with computers is that kids who spend hours on them tend to miss out on exercising and interacting with other children. Excessive computer use can also result in your child getting headaches and eye strain and it can also affect their sleeping. Below are some common sense pieces of advice that you should consider following:
Limit their computer use
This is especially the case if they are playing video games as most parents would be reluctant to stop their child whilst they were doing homework on the computer! Allow your child a maximum of 2 hours per day on computer games and have at least one day off per week. Computer games can become addictive and will stop your child doing other more productive things.
Make sure they have breaks
If you child is complaining of eye strain and headaches it could be because they are not taking enough breaks. There are muscles in the eyes that are working overtime whilst a child is on the computer and after prolonged use they get tired and start to ache.
Go to the Optometrist
If you child complains about headaches and eye strain whilst using the computer it may mean that they require glasses. Take your child to the Optometrist regardless of their age and get them checked out.
Don’t sit too close: Although sitting close to the computer will not damage your child’s eyes it will mean they are more likely to get eye strain and headaches.
Make sure the light is on
Again using the computer in the dark is more likely to cause eye strain and headaches.
Stop an hour before bedtime
Make sure your child stops using the computer at least one hour before bedtime as computer games tend to over stimulate their brains which in turn them makes it more difficult for them to get to sleep.
In summary, whilst computer use will not damage your children’s eyes it is certainly not a good idea to let them play on it constantly. Like most things, as long as it is in moderation it is not likely to be an issue.
This article was written by Tim, an Optometrist who has tested the eyes of 1000’s of computer mad kids! Tim is a laser eye surgery trained Optometrist and regularly writes information for his own website Treatment Saver.