The Dreaded Screen Time

Remember way back in 2019, you know when parents tried to monitor how much screen time their children had – the optometrist would tell you “No more than 1 hour a day for school age children”.

Ya, me either. Now it’s just basic survival between meetings to keep my son occupied, or knowing my daughter is going from screen to screen in the on again off again virtual classroom. Even when the kiddos are in the physical classroom there are iPads and Chromebooks for the tech classes, or indoor recesses, or just because they have done a great job and earned the extra time.

But all of this added screen time doesn’t magically change the effects of blue light and the impacts it has on our children.

So what do you do??

Let’s start by breaking down what blue light is and the effects it can have.

  • Blue light is a high-energy light on the spectrum of visible electromagnetic energy. Some intense forms of blue light have a similar frequency to ultraviolet light, which can penetrate through the eye and reach the retina.
  • The main source of blue light is the sun, but it’s also emitted by artificial indoor lighting (Rebecca Michi, Children’s Sleep Consultant spoke on an episode of The Mom Files Podcast about the effect this can have on sleep), smartphones, and other digital devices.
  • Blue light can trigger certain cells in the retina that communicate with the pineal gland in the brain. The pineal gland produces the sleep hormone called melatonin. When melatonin production is decreased it may lead to poor sleep quality or insomnia.

Symptoms of digital eye strain in children and adolescents include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Poor posture
  • Changes in vision
  • Dry eyes

You may be asking, what sort of things can I do to combat the symptoms and struggles from blue light?

  • Since blue light makes the body more alert, try to stop using devices and video games at least 2 hours before bedtime.
  • Try to limit the over all usage of devices emitting blue light when at home, also be mindful of the sorts of light bulbs in the bedrooms.
  • There are many styles of blue light glasses available. Although they do not block blue light 100%, they do standardly block 80% of the light that is emitted.

It’s not a perfect system, but being mindful of complaints your child while having a place to start in thinking about the causes is always a bonus.

If you have a favourite brand of blue light glasses for your kids share it below!

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