It’s robbing our children’s eyes of the clarity they used to have – our screens. And we parents need to stop it before it’s too late.
A dull look in our eyes.
In Trouble in Murktown, the citizens are covered in a fog that dispels all traces of clear vision. The citizens are glued to their phone screens and their eyes appear to be soulless. Driven by their constant pre-occupation with their screens, the citizens of Murktown lose clarity of the world around them.
For most of us today, our lives center around our phones. Ask anyone around you what 3 things they always have with them and 1 out of the 3 will definitely be a phone. Even for our children, growing up in the 21st Century basically necessitates the ownership of a phone – most teachers now use WhatsApp groups to disseminate reminders to their students, and some schools are even planning to use tablets as part of the school curriculum. Our children even use their devices to entertain themselves – games, videos, music, you know the whole lot. Compared to 3 years ago, screen time has definitely doubled.
What’s paying the price? Our children’s eyes.
There’s a reason why Zee wears glasses when his twin brother, Zed, does not – Zee is always using his Bottle-Bottle screen! Even when Professor Plano first met the boys, Zee was seen engrossed with his Bottle-Bottle screen.
Spending too much time staring at a tiny screen can cause our eyes to lengthen and lose flexibility in focusing. The eyes are too accustomed to viewing things at a near distance and loses its ability to focus on faraway objects. This is a process that causes nearsightedness (myopia) and explains why some people are unable to see things clearly if they’re far away.
Getting back that spark.
For every hour that we spend staring at the screen, it’s an hour lost to myopia. Our children are especially vulnerable to myopia; as digital natives growing up in a smartphone generation, it’s no surprise to see them spending hours upon hours on their phones. According to health experts, children between the ages of 8 to 18 are spending at least 7 hours a day staring at their screens.
7 hours a day for 7 days a week – that’s a total of 49 hours which is the equivalent of 2 days and a bit! Imagine that – spending 2 whole days staring at the screen with no breaks in between. Thankfully, not all hope is lost. Just like how Professor Plano, Zed, and Zee managed to thwart Lord Myopic’s evil plans to cover Murktown in an eternal fog, we can help lift the dull fog from our children’s eyes using the Clear Vision Recipe.
If your child is constantly using his/her phone for prolonged periods of time every day, it’s important to remind your little one of the 4 key ingredients in the recipe:
1. Scoops of good distance
Let your child know that it’s important to place their phones at a distance of at least 30 cm away from their eyes – that’s around one arm’s length.
2. Dashes of eye breaks
It’s important to give our eyes a rest! Remind your child to take a 2-minute eye break after every 30 minutes of screen time.
3. Heaps of time outdoors
Going outdoors has been proven to help improve one’s eye sight and protect your eyes from myopia. Bringing your little one out for 2 hours every day is a great way to safeguard their eyes from myopia.
Last, but definitely not least, is my power. Your child has the power to practice all the ingredients in the Clear Vision Recipe and if he/she does it diligently every day, they’ll be right on track to gaining that spark in their eyes.
After the fog was dispelled from Murktown, the citizens looked up from their Bottle Bottle Screens to a whole new world and realised the beauty of the city around them. Don’t let your children miss out on the beauty the world has to offer outside their tiny palm-sized screens. Together, we parents can help them achieve their best vision possible and find that spark in their eyes once again for we will not let anyone or any phone dull their sparkle.
If you would like to purchase Trouble in Murktown, or any of the other 4 books in The Plano Adventures book series, you may find them in Singapore at Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, and at Popular. Alternatively, buy them online on Amazon or Book Depository.