The eyes have it: 5 things you can do to reduce your child’s exposure to harmful blue light

The eyes have it: 5 things you can do to reduce your child's exposure to harmful blue light

(BPT) – A generation ago, limiting a child’s screen time meant putting restrictions on how much television they could watch in a single day. “No more than two hours a day and don’t sit too close to the screen.” Those were the rules, and while enforcing them was a challenge, it was easy to remember.

Times have changed.

These days, the challenge parents face regarding their children’s screen time has grown exponentially and protecting their eyes from too much blue light exposure is more important than ever.

Last fall, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) hosted a national conference involving more than 10,000 pediatricians. The focal point of discussion was children and screen time. Concerned about the effects of screen time – and blue light – on young children’s eyes, the AAP officially recommends:

* no screen time for children 18 months and under.

* one hour per day for children ages 2-5.

* limited screen time for children ages 6 and above.

Prolonged exposure to blue light (the blueish glow emitted from digital device screens), has been shown to cause headaches, dry eyes and even hamper sleep, so it’s no surprise the AAP would recommend limits for children. Monitoring your child’s overall screen time can be easier said than done, so don’t try to go it alone. For parents, however, there are things you can do besides simply monitoring your child’s time in front of their favorite device:

* Plan for breaks. Consider recording shows and then allowing your children to watch them with the expectation that their session will end at the show’s completion rather than continue on into the next program. If computer/smartphone use is the problem, consider using parental controls within the device settings to limit usage. If that’s not an option, you can install apps that set off an alarm at pre-timed intervals to inform your little one it’s time to do something else.

* Discuss your child’s screen time with your eye doctor. Just as you would consult the pediatrician for a question regarding your child’s general health, your optometrist is there to answer any questions you have about your child’s eyes. If a trip to the optometrist isn’t covered under your current insurance plan, VSP Individual Vision Plans, a national family and individual vision insurance provider, can help. offers affordable access to high-quality eye care and eye wear, and people who use individual or family vision plans typically save hundreds of dollars on their eye exams and glasses.

* Be aware of when they use devicesHealth & Fitness. In some cases the amount of screen time a child has isn’t as important as when they have it. Research shows that blue light exposure shortly before bed delays REM sleep, leading to poorer sleeping habits. Eliminate screen time a couple of hours before your child goes to bed and they’ll wake up more rested.

* Adjust device settings. Some easy settings you can adjust to make your child’s screen more readable are increasing the font size, reducing the screen brightness or increasing the contrast of the screen. And the easier it is for children to use the device, the less they’ll feel they have to get their nose right against the screen.

* Be the alternative. The easiest way to protect your children from the risks of digital eye strain is to give them something to do that takes them away from the device altogether. Engage them in a board game, a trip to the park or a visit to the mall. Just make sure you do it together and device free – for both of you – and you’ll have a great time in a way that’s healthy for the entire body.

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* We all read on our cell phones at night in bed, but do we really know how this can affect our sleep. If you're having trouble sleeping, check it out to learn more.

At night, artificial light can throw our body's clock out of sync, but not all colours have the same effect on us. In particular, blue wavelengths are the most disruptive to our bodies at night. Darkness is nature's cue to the body that it's time to start winding down for sleep, which tells the brain to start secreting the hormone 'melatonin'. The problem specifically with blue wavelengths of light at night is that they are the most disruptive in suppressing the production of melatonin, which makes it harder to fall asleep and even be able to achieve good quality sleep once you doze off. This episode of Ratalyst provides some strategies for improving your night time routine to have a positive change to your health and the way your body functions.


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How Your Cell Phone Is Destroying Your Sleep | Blue Light Sleep Effects How Your Cell Phone Is Destroying Your Sleep | Blue Light Sleep Effects

17 Responses to “The eyes have it: 5 things you can do to reduce your child’s exposure to harmful blue light”

  1. Matthew Osborne Reply

    How did that guy get up and stay on the toilet? he has no feet!!!

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  2. Drippy Mobile Gaming Reply

    I downloaded lower brightness and night mode.You should also check it out.

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  3. Ar15 Arkitekto Reply

    someone turn off the sun.

    View Comment
  4. Karen McElroy Reply

    great little video summarising the importance of blue light, which is something I constantly discuss with my patients….so I have shared it in my newsletter this month.
    I liked particularly how you covered in lay terms the peripheral clocks in our organs, that take their cues from the central circadian clock. Interesting new research also shows that blue light from the sun penetrates to the dermis, our second layer of skin, and activates the T-lymphocytes that reside there, helping to boost our immunity, in addition to the impact of vitamin D on immunity that is well known.
    Thanks Karen McElroy Naturopath

    View Comment
  5. The Blue Light Diet Reply

    Neat video guys!

    View Comment
  6. Raymond Seubelan Reply

    Excellent explanatory video! I just got myself a stylish computer glasses on Kickstarter they called EXYRA Like you said those goggles are dorky, and a for a night shift graphic designer like me, we can't cope with color distortion from Flux or any other app. Keep up the good work man!

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  7. Faults Reply

    Excellent Video friend. Really informative and helpful

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  8. Seng Yang Haw Reply

    Nowadays, smartphones have seriously influenced our daily lives:

    View Comment
  9. menace tv Reply

    I have difficulty sleeping I never slept for 3weeks it's been hard for me can anyone help me

    View Comment
  10. MarsCheese Reply

    Well I ruled out all of this because I never have sleep problems

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  11. demaan 33 Reply

    im going to give it a try thanks

    View Comment
  12. Hammam Saeed Reply

    on Linux : Redshift is the way to go !

    View Comment
  13. Scorz1 Reply

    im using this for my grade 7 science fair. I use the fitbit to capture when I fall asleep.

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  14. BeeBee 13 Reply

    omg yes!! I downloaded the Night Mode app and love it!

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  15. Katerina B Reply

    Literally everything causes obesity…wtf? what about us people that are underweight and have trouble gaining weight to a healthy level???

    View Comment
  16. rjb Reply

    I wonder what the "surgeon general" is doing about all this? Mabe there should be warnings on all these devices that emit blue light. Or mabe a class action lawsuit against manufacturing companies that make and sell these dangerous devices??

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  17. Travis bickle Reply

    Im a chronic insomniac and cant sleep so im here laying in bed at 3:30am watching this on my phone thus stopping me from sleeping due to the "blue light"

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