IPG Mediabrands and plano, a device management software that restricts screen time for children, have come up with a campaign that aims to change the reputation of Singapore as “the myopia capital of the world”.

Titled #SeePastTheScreen, the corporate social responsibility campaign aims to get children off screens and will play out across OOH, print, digital, television, mobile, radio and social media for eight weeks starting February 25.

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IPG Mediabrands has launched a national pro-bono campaign, called #SeePastTheScreen, to drive awareness in Singapore which was named “the myopia capital of the world”.

The campaign which will run across OOH, print, digital, television, radio and social media for eight weeks. Strategy-led design agency fst produced the creative concept and all media assets, with retouching from Pop-35. The campaign messaging was developed in collaboration between IPGMB, fst and CSR partner plano. plano partnered with the agency last year to aid in its expansion and boost brand awareness across the region.

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plano has released a campaign to highlight how excessive device usage can increase the risk of short-sightedness, which is also known as myopia.

The campaign, called #SeePastTheScreen, is created by IPG Mediabrands for the parental control app, as part of the Interpublic-owned agency’s corporate social responsibility activities.

The campaign wants to use the ‘square eyes’ parable, which refers to how one can go ‘squared-eye’ when watching too much television, to drive home the message that excessive device usage has been scientifically linked to myopia.

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Myopia is a complex eye condition, with both genetics and environmental risk factors contributing to its development. It is estimated that half of the world’s population will have myopia by 2050. In Singapore alone, more than 50% of 9-year olds are reported to have myopia, with direct costs of myopia estimated to cost 1 billion dollars annually. While there are current interventions to manage myopia, the opportunity lies in developing preventative screening and early intervention mechanisms that help reduce or delay the onset of myopia.

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Singapore is  #1 in the world for the prevalence of childhood myopia in seven to nine-year-olds.

This is one Singapore statistic that we’d all like to change. Whether it’s because of all the studying children do, genetic factors, prolonged screen time or lack of outdoor time, myopia is extremely common in Singapore.

Myopia, or shortsightedness is when a person can see near objects clearly but distant objects appear blurred.

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Dr. Mo Dirani, a research entrepreneur, successfully spun-off a health tech company to save sight and empower lives. He shares his story in this interview.

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The plano app, downloaded almost 200,000 times since launching last year in Asia, allows parents to control device time for their children and analyse data to ensure screens are being used at safe distances.

Researchers, including those at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), have linked excessive device use and reduced time spent outdoors in child and teenage years with myopia. The condition affects around four million Australians, however, studies suggest it will increase four-fold by 2050 if adjustments aren’t made to current lifestyle trends.

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Global myopia rates have continued to rise in recent years, with researchers suggesting that more than half of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.

This has also come at a time of increased levels of mobile device use by children aged six and under.

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Getting children to play outside will benefit their eyesight and reduce their risk of becoming shortsighted, experts say.

Shortsightedness, or myopia, is becoming increasingly common the world over. By 2050, nearly 4.8 billion people will be affected by this visual disorder, which is about 2.8 billion more people than in 2010.

In China, where over 90 percent of young people are shortsighted, the problem is considered an epidemic.

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“More than 90 per cent of children aged four years or younger are now using devices with little control over how they engage with them,” shares Dr. Mohamed ‘Mo’ Dirani, founder and managing director of plano Pte Ltd. The company has developed an app to help manage device use and curb myopia among children.

“Science has shown that inappropriate device use can cause adverse health outcomes in children, including mental illness, screen addiction and myopia,” Dr. Mo says. Today, myopia has reached epidemic proportions in developed countries, affecting up to 80 per cent of young people in some countries like Singapore, he adds.

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