No time for screen time for the under-2’s
Keeping babies and toddlers entertained is no easy feat but alarming new research from the University of Queensland shows that Aussie parents are not sticking to the national guidelines on limiting screen time for children under 2.
Australian health experts together with the World Health Organisation recommend ZERO screen time for children under 2. However, the UQ research showed that babies are spending up to an hour per day fixated on a screen (usually a smartphone) before their first birthday. (source: Medical Journal of Australia “Adherence to screen time recommendations for Australian children aged 0-12 years” July 2019)
Why is this worrying to us? Well, the eyes are still developing during toddlerhood and continue to do so until around 8 years of age. A child’s ability to focus and use their binocular vision (both eyes) up close and into the distance needs to be encouraged through a range of activities in early childhood – most importantly through unstructured play and getting out and about in order to look into the distance. This, together with limiting screen time, are key ways to avoid childhood myopia (short-sightedness) which is taking on epidemic proportions in Australia and worldwide and has worrying implications for a young person’s vision during adulthood.
Even if your child is well past the toddler stage, monitoring their screen time has an important role in maintaining their eye health and optimum vision. If you’re concerned about your child’s vision or any vision symptoms they may be experiencing, book an appointment with us online or pop into Outlook Eye Centre for a chat.