Study Reveals a Surprising Amount of Hours Kids Spend On Screen

4 min read
Study Reveals a Surprising Amount of Hours Kids Spend On Screen

Most of us know that screens might not be the best thing that’s ever happened to childhood.

But screens aren’t just having a negative effect on obesity levels, they’re also having a massive effect on eyesight.

You might not know this, but the time that Aussie kids have been spending on screens has been increasing. Quite a lot. Year on year, the amount of screen time has increased by five hours. Now the average Australian child spends 35 hours a week staring at a screen. That’s almost like a full time job.

That’s why experts are calling on parents to be more aware of the effect that staring at electronic screens can have on a child’s eyesight. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, a child psychologist, along with Specsavers Optometrists, want parents to know that spending a long time on screens can actually cause serious eye damage. This isn’t just damage that will change their childhood, it’s long-time damage that can have a real psychological impact on their adult life.

Study Reveals a Surprising Amount of Hours Kids Spend On Screen | Stay At Home Mum

To really drive this message home, Specsavers has commissioned new research on the trend. The numbers are frankly concerning. Peter Larson, the Director of Optometry and an optometrist with Specsavers, had this to say:

“The research uncovered some worrying statistics, almost one in three children aged 1-17 years have never had an eye test. That is 1.3 million children! And many children have been found to have long term eye conditions, including squinting and lazy eyes, which are treatable if caught early – ideally before a child turns eight.”

Mr Larsen said a lot of parents simply weren’t aware that extended periods of screen time, as well as extended time indoors, increases the risk that a child is shortsighted. Shortsightedness, or the inability to focus well on objects far away, is difficult to live with. Kids are at much higher risk of developing the condition as their eyes are still in the development stage.

More Than Eyesight

Kids who spent excessive periods of time on electronic devices do have problems. These manifest as childhood obesity, a loss of social skills or a failure to develop them, and problems maintaining a normal sleep cycle. With these enormous issues, it’s easy to see how damage to eyesight might get forgotten.

Study Reveals a Surprising Amount of Hours Kids Spend On Screen | Stay At Home Mum

However, there’s so much more to eye conditions than just what is on the surface. Problems with eyesight, particularly if they are undiagnosed, can result in a ripple effect of other issues according to child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg.

“Poor eyesight can cause learning and behavioural problems, this is especially true for young children, who may find it harder to explain the difficulties they are having with their eyesight. They may not even be aware they have a problem at all,” he said.

So What Can You Do?

Of course, we aren’t saying that screens have no value. For a child’s education, there’s so much to be gained from screen time, and in our modern world, it can be very difficult to minimise it.

kids using computers e1486518729267 | Stay at Home, the research undertaken by eye health experts has clearly shown that many eye conditions, even things like squints which can be long-term, are able to be treated if they’re detected early.

“Long term eye issues have a higher chance of being avoided if they are detected and treated before a child turns eight,” said Peter Larsen, “Prevention is better than cure.”

We definitely agree. So, the takeaway from the study and certainly our own advice at SAHM, is to really work to get your kids outside and playing in the natural world as much as possible. Along with this, really dedicate yourself to having their eyes tested at least every two years. The tests are available at Specsavers, and are bulk billed, so there’s really no excuse.


Study Reveals a Surprising Amount of Hours Kids Spend On Screen | Stay at Home Mum

Avatar photo
About Author

Brendan Allen

Ask a Question

Close sidebar