Protecting Children from the Negative Effects of Screens

Today, it's crucial that parents take action and protect their children from the negative effects of screens. Here's how.
Protecting Children from the Negative Effects of Screens

Last update: 13 February, 2021

Today, it’s common for families to see their children spending more and more time using screens than they should. Kids like to spend time playing video games and, since they see their parents spending hours and hours in front of screens, they see nothing wrong with doing it themselves. The reality is, however, that we need to protect our children from the negative effects of screens.

Electronic screens, as everyone knows, should be used in moderation, always under parental supervision, and, above all, with rules and limits, both regarding their use and the time of exposure.

Screen use can have negative effects on children’s health, both physically (sedentary lifestyle, obesity, visual problems) and emotionally (nervousness, isolation, anxiety).

How to protect children from the negative effects of screens

If your child complains of burning eyes, you should check the amount of time they spend with their electronic devices. Here are some tips that will help you take care of their eye health, although you also need to take into account other important aspects, such as regular physical exercise and socialization, both with friends and family.

Limit the time spent using electronic screens

Limit the amount of time your children spend watching television. Also, limit time on other devices to one hour a day for young children and two hours a day for school-going children. Divide this allotment into two or three sessions to reduce eyestrain. You need to be firm about this because children have a hard time setting and following these limits on their own.

Protecting Children from the Negative Effects of Screens

Encourage children to play outdoors

Electronic devices encourage sedentary habits that are bad for the body and for the mind. Encourage children to spend time outdoors doing activities that force them to move and interact with other children.

Playing outside with the dog or other children is more fun than watching an animated film for the umpteenth time. Spending time outdoors also exercises long-distance vision and reduces the chances of nearsightedness.

Don’t use electronic devices as babysitters

Keeping your kids occupied with gadgets or TV may allow you to do whatever you want in peace, but it’s a bad idea. Instead, keeping them occupied with healthier alternatives, such as creative toys, coloring books, or storybooks is a much better idea.

Make sure your child gets enough sleep

Children should get about 10 hours of sleep a day. Sleep allows the eyes to recover from stress, so ask them to take regular breaks and blink frequently. To avoid dry eyes, ask your child to blink two or three times whenever their eyes hurt.

Reduce eyestrain

Eyestrain can be reduced by taking short breaks to look at something other than the screen. Most opticians advocate the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes and focus on something about 20 meters away for 20 seconds. This will help reduce eyestrain and prevent eye irritation.

Protecting Children from the Negative Effects of Screens

Make sure children keep the correct distance from electronic screens

While using a computer or other personal device, the eye should be at least 30 centimeters away from electronic screens. Don’t allow children to sit too close while watching TV. If your child prefers to sit close to the screen, have their eyes examined to rule out nearsightedness.

To further prevent the negative effects of screens, don’t let kids use devices in the dark or in bright sunlight. Children may not pay attention to lighting conditions when they are engrossed in an activity.

The brightness of the screen shouldn’t be three times darker or brighter than the surroundings. If the device has an automatic brightness mode, enable it. This automatically adjusts the screen brightness according to the ambient light. Digital screens cause eyestrain and related symptoms, such as vision difficulties and headaches.

Children are more vulnerable than adults and spending too much time with devices can affect their vision. It’s difficult to keep children away from devices, but you can take steps to minimize the adverse effects of screens by following these tips.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.