Increased Screen Time During Stay-Home Measures Must Be Managed


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Technology has made the pivot to working and learning from home much easier, but it’s important to be aware of the amount of time you’re dedicating to the screen.

A double-edged sword: Technology

The implementation of home-based working and learning amidst COVID-19 has been made easier thanks to technology. For us digital gurus, pivoting online isn’t a difficult feat. For our young ones? Easy-peasy. While most of our daily lives shift online, it’s important to take note of our daily device habits too. Granted, our work and learning processes have no choice but to migrate online. However, we need to bear in mind that the amount of time we’re going to be spending staring at a screen is going to skyrocket, and the consequences to our health are detrimental – starting with our eyes.

Too much screen time, too little time away.

As important as technology is in helping us connect with our co-workers (and our children to their classmates and teachers), it’s important we know when to take a break from technology too. Excessive screen time throughout the day can cause some very damaging consequences to our health. Here’s what they are and how to deal with them:

1. Dry eye disease

According to plano’s report on Excessive Device Use, using your devices for more than 8 hours a day can double the risk of dry eye disease. Some symptoms of dry eye disease are sandy, scratchy sensations in your eye and a sensitivity to light.

The solution? Consider getting some lubricating eye drops for your eyes. Or, just take a simple break from the screen! It doesn’t have to be too long, just 5 minutes every half an hour would be enough. The same goes for your child who may be learning from home. Remind your child to take a 5-minute eye breaks every 30 minutes to prevent dry, tired eyes.

2. Myopia

Increased screen time and excessive near work activity are risk factors associated with myopia. With the use of devices increasing tenfold as a result of work from home measures and online learning, our eyes will constantly be under the weight of strain and stress. Resultantly, this could lead to the progression of myopia, especially in our little ones whose vision hasn’t fully developed.

The solution? Remember to place your devices at least half a meter away from your eye to ensure a proper distance between the device and your eye. And just like the first one, remember to take adequate eye breaks from time to time! Set your phone aside and look outside the window for a couple of minutes, or you could simply talk to your child and vice versa.

3. Insomnia

For us adults, it’s easy to get caught up with work all the way till our bedtimes. For our kids, they could be using some downtime before bed to catch up with their friends online (because online is all we’ve got now). However, studies have shown that using one’s phone or other devices before bed can lead to insomnia. When you’re learning, communicating or working from home, it’s so easy to lose track of time and forget to switch off from our devices until the moment we hit the sack.

The solution? Set a time for your little one and yourself to switch off the devices and spend the time relaxing instead. Experts advise discontinuing your phone usage at least 30 minutes before bed. You could use this time to have a meaningful conversation with your child – ask your child about his/her favourite part of the day, his/her likes and dislikes about staying at home. Get to know them. After that, tuck your child and yourself into bed for some well-deserved rest.

Protecting our health no matter the time and season.

As stay home mandates are racking up all over the world, there’s bound to be a surge in screen time and device use. While continuing to practice good social hygiene, it’s also important we take note of our vision health amidst our shift to go digital. Moreover, our children’s eyes are just opening to what the world has to offer and we wouldn’t want to risk their vision health either, would we? It is now more pertinent than ever to practice good device habits and adapt them according to our own stay home arrangements. Ultimately, no matter what the time is and where it is, our health will always be a priority.

Please remember to take steps to continuously protect yourselves and your loved ones. Follow the necessary healthcare guidelines pertaining to your country.

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