Children are constantly exposed to different forms of technology, from smartphones, tablets, television, and consoles, they have a wide variety of options to choose from during their downtime. What are the dangers of having too much screen time? There has been a lot of research conducted on the subject, and a few organizations have given their guidance on the matter.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and World Health Organization (WHO), parents should keep a close eye on how much screen time their children are exposed to. For children under 18 months, screen time should be nonexistent, unless they are appearing on a brief video call with relatives or friends. Toddlers from 18 months to 24 months should have less than an hour of screen time. Preschoolers can have 3 to 5 hours of screen time per day, but AAP and WHO recommend finding a book or toy as an alternative. Children between 6 and 10 can have up to 1 to 1.5 hours per day. As the children grow older and approach high school, 2 hours of screen time per day is acceptable.

Too much screen time can lead to a variety of side effects in children. Dry eyes, fatigue, loss of focus, and can even affect their behavior. Children aren’t as in tune with issues that can arise from too much screen time. If they have blurry vision, they may think everyone sees the world this way and that it is normal. Similarly, children may not be able to make the conscious decision to adjust the screen to fit their settings, whether it’s the brightness setting or even moving the screen so a glare from the sun isn’t reflecting in their eyes. As ClearSight, LASIK surgery and lens replacement specialists in Oklahoma City, point out, life with glasses is less than ideal: Uncomfortable during work and play! It’s best to protect those little eyes while they are young! These problems can add up and cause problems in the long run if they aren’t spotted immediately. The blue light from screens can also have a negative impact on children’s sleep cycle. The brain may perceive the screen light as morning light and alters the body’s sleep cycle as a result.

Due to this, parents must be keeping tabs on how often their children are using screens and technology. Start by limiting the amount of screen time the children have. Finding alternatives like books and toys can help distract them and educate them. As your children grow older, make sure to schedule consistent eye appointments to keep up on their health, especially if you notice any irritation in their eyes.