The rise of screen time usage and the never-ending use of smartphones has left parents wondering if their kids should have smartphones and if so, at what age. Even if your child is the exception, it is still important to know all of the effects of the blue light on your child.
Blue Light and Your Child’s Eyes
Blue light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy than other colors. Research shows that blue light is a factor in macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is an eye disease that can lead to blindness. Blue light contains rays with wavelengths between 415 and 455 nanometers, which is close to that range. Most of the light used in televisions, computers, smartphones have wavelengths between 400 and 490 nanometers, which are similarly short wavelengths as those in blue light harmful to our eyes.
Based on findings from the National Eye Institute, it would appear that younger people are impacted more by digital screens than adult viewers. The study found that children’s eyes absorb more blue light from digital device screens than adults that can lead to eye strain. Anti-blue light glasses can help reduce the risk of digital eye strain on your kids.
Blue Light and Sleep Cycle
Artificial blue light from electronic devices can mess with your circadian rhythm (or sleep cycle), which signals your brain to wake up when it should be winding down. In one study, as little as 2 hours of exposure to blue light at night slowed or stopped the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Unplugging your child’s digital devices at least 3 hours before bedtime will help them get better rest.
Blue Light and Sun
Young children are like plants. They need sunlight to grow and be healthy. Just like your garden, if a young one is missing out on regular sunlight exposure in the early stages of their life, that could have an effect on their long-term vision and growth. In fact, scientists say the increase in myopia and nearsightedness today may be linked to kids spending too much time indoors on computers, and not enough playing outdoors where they can get blue light exposure from the sun.
What Should You Do?
While the effects of Blue light have still not been completely researched, we do know that the eyes are very susceptible to health issues from using devices excessively. The best proactive steps you can take as a parent is to encourage your children to stay healthy by giving their eyes some much-needed rest. You can do this by suggesting they follow the 20-20-20 break rule every day. This breaks down like this: taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes and focusing on something that is 20 feet away for each break. As well, you might want to consider changing settings on various electronic devices or wear anti-blue light glasses so that blue light is reduced when possible.