We’ve all seen how crazy kids are glued to their screens, to a point where sometimes parenting seems like a foreign concept.
Sure rewarding your kids with more screen time might give you some momentary peace of mind, but experts say this decision might hurt you in the future.
New research by Scrivens Opticians found the number of 13 to 16-year-olds in U.K. needing glasses has doubled due to longer and more excessive screen times.
The study’s optometrist, Sheena Mangat, advises parents to be more careful about how much time their children stare at screens watching television and YouTube videos.
“Trying to encourage children away from their tech to playing outside is not only going to be good for their vision but their overall wellbeing too,” said Magnat.
That’s easier said than done, unfortunately, as technology becomes a growing problem among kids from an increasingly early start.
The study surveyed 2,000 parents and found 73% of them said it was a “challenge” to get their kids to stop staring at their screens.
Staring at screens does more than strain your eyes, it can also lead to poor vision which can result in blurry eye sight or even prescribed glasses.
About 26% of parents surveyed have never taken their kids to an optometrist.
Mangat recommends children should get their eyes checked more than just once since their vision is most sensitive to changes.
“Children’s eyes continue to grow until early adulthood, and their vision is changing too,” said Mangat. “Because conditions such as short- or long-sightedness can happen gradually over time, neither children nor parents can ‘see the signs’, which is why regular eye checks are so important.”
Parents from the study noticed some symptoms of their children needing glasses included: headaches, dry eyes, sitting too close to screens, covering and rubbing eyes.
Children with poor eyesight are also likely to struggle in school since it starts to interfere with one’s ability to read.
With September fast approaching, Mangat suggests adding a quick eye exam to the list is as necessary as a dentist appointment.
“Parents always have a long back to school check list, but getting your children’s eyes tested should be a priority,” she said.