This year, back to school may look a little different for many of us. Instead of picking out first day outfits and filling backpacks with new No. 2 pencils, many parents are setting up extra bedrooms or kitchen tables as remote school desks for their children. In fact, reports indicate that 52% of elementary and high school students will learn online only, with another 19% learning via a hybrid model of in-person and online classes, due to concerns caused by COVID-19.
And while this situation presents numerous challenges for parents and teachers alike, if you’re like the 72% of mothers recently surveyed, you’re worried about how much screen time is too much. How can you make the best of this situation and ensure your kids receive a great education, while also protecting their eyes from the long-term effects of blue light?
Blue light is emitted by tech devices and has been found to pass through the eye and reach the retina, potentially damaging the cells found there. However, there are some simple steps you can take to help reduce exposure:
- Follow the 20/20/20 rule: Suggested by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, encourage kids to take regular breaks from the screen every 20 minutes by shifting their eyes to look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Dim the brightness on devices: Avoid eye strain by matching the brightness of the screen to the brightness in the room. You definitely don’t want a computer screen to be the light source of your home classroom.
- Ensure rooms are properly lit: To build on the tip above, make sure each room has a proper light source so that your children aren’t looking at a device in a dimly lit room with dilated pupils, which will allow more blue light into their eyes than necessary.
- Position devices further away: The closer devices are, the harder your kids’ eyes will need to work in order to focus on them. In addition, keeping devices two feet away reduces blue light exposure by 75%.
- Use blue light blocking screen protectors: Screen protectors like EyeJust block blue light at the source, helping to prevent damage to your children’s eyes.
It won’t be a typical school year for any of us, and no matter what back to school looks like for your family, technology will definitely be involved, making screen time inevitable. By employing a few (or all) of the tips above, you can help your children avoid the pitfalls of too much screen time – because 2020 has given us plenty more to worry about.