Screen Time Strategies for Mothers of Tech Savvy Kids
Specialist Ophthalmologist Dr. Mamta Mittal shared some tips to keep your child's eye health and digital world in check
3 October 2023
Screen time and your eyes - a step by step guide for mothers of tech savvy kids.
"Why do not you eat carrots? Why are you always playing on your mobile phone? Go out and play. Why are you squinting your eyes? Why are you blinking too much?"
Does this sound familiar? All mothers are saying this to their kids. Well, I am not going to repeat all this. Believe me, our kids know that eating a diet comprising fruits and vegetables is good for our health.
They also are aware that prolonged exposure to gadgets is harmful for the eyes, so there is no point in constantly reminding them what they already know.
Then what should we do?
Our kids are in a comfort zone and their comfort zone is a cage. We are all accustomed to our habits and routines.
Any slight deviation from that comfort zone brings discomfort. Hence, we keep on doing what we are doing, and we see no change in our life. But that’s not how we grow. We grow through discomfort. Why? Because temporary discomfort leads to permanent improvement. We need to support them in their journey towards the transformation. We need to guide them how to do this.
The Action Plan
Lets help our kids in overcoming lack of motivation and willpower and choose what’s best for a healthier future.
So, from today onwards try to equip your kids with three powers = I want, I will, I won't.
This is the power of affirmations. In context with eye care, it will be:
I want = to make a conscious choice and lead a healthy life.
I will = Eat the "rainbow diet."
Let them choose a variety of colourful, organic fruits and vegetables daily; they are rich in eye-protecting carotenoids, flavonoids and vitamin C.
Dark green leafy vegetables, including kale, spinach, and collard greens, provide the highest amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, especially when cooked.
Lutein and zeaxanthin help absorb damaging ultraviolet light from the sun, as well as blue light from computer screens, digital devices, and LEDs. They act as "internal sunglasses" that protect the retina. You see, carrots are overrated!
I will = Drink at least eight glasses of water per day and keep myself hydrated.
I will = Wear my prescription glasses all the time to avoid eyestrain and get my eyes checked regularly at prescribed intervals.
I won't = Keep myself gazing at screens all day, I will follow the 20-20-20 rule.
Basically, every 20 minutes spent using a screen; you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds.) I will always remember that I own the gadgets, and gadgets don’t own me, so I will decide what to do with them. I will use them only when required.
Just show them the door. They know what’s waiting on the other side. Let them walk through it.
Authored by Dr. Mamta Mittal, Specialist Ophthalmologist at Mediclinic Deira.