Protecting Your Child’s Vision During Online Learning: What Parents Need To Know
As a parent, you care about your child’s eyes. For many students, school looks different this year than in years past. If your child is getting their education virtually this fall, you may be (rightfully) concerned about the number of hours they’re spending looking at a screen. Let’s take a look at what you need to know to keep your child’s eyes safe as they spend hours focused on their Zoom or other digital learning classes.
- Take Breaks – Encourage your child to get up and walk around every once in a while, giving their eyes and their mind a break from staring at the screen. This is good for their vision, but can also work to help them keep a positive attitude and stay focused throughout the day. If your child has back to back classes for which they need to be staring at the screen, it’s especially important that the take some time to move around and give their eyes a rest. Be sure that their eyes are actually resting during this time – they shouldn’t be watching TV or texting.
- Follow The 10/10/10 Rule – The 10/10/10 rule is simple: every 10 minutes, look at an object at least 10 feet away for 10 seconds. Have some fun with it – a picture of your child’s celebrity crush or their favorite band can be a perfect focal point for their 10 second break. It may help to set a timer to help get your child into the habit of averting their eyes from the screen for a few moments. There’s no need to make this formal – if they’re in class via Zoom or another streaming platform, they can simply adjust their gaze over the top of the computer screen for 10 seconds.
- Get Regular Vision Checkups – If it’s been a year or more since your child’s last vision checkup, it’s important to get them seen by an optometry professional. As your child begins online learning, it’s key that their vision is up to par. If it’s not, they’ll likely experience headaches and may even struggle to understand the material being taught.
- Take Advantage Of Screen Free Time – When your child isn’t learning, encourage them to engage in activities that don’t involve a screen. Getting outside, reading a book, chatting with family, playing with pets, and exercising are all great ways to help your child’s eyes get a break while also giving their minds stimulation.
Be sure to check in with your child regularly, and ask them how the feel physically after spending much of their day in front of the computer. If they’re experiencing headaches, having trouble focusing, or you notice that they’re squinting at the screen, err on the side of caution and schedule an appointment with an eye care professional.