Digital Screen Time During COVID-19 Pandemic: Risk for a Further Myopia Boom?
Amidst of the worst outbreak known to human history, the world has been pushed to embrace digital technology at an unprecedented scale and pace. There is no denying the benefits of digital technology in a time like this. Notwithstanding the global pandemic, it is of paramount importance that parents help their children to develop a healthy relationship with digital devices. First, digital detox is a method to encourage healthy digital device habits, using digital applications to consciously monitor device usage and reminding users to disconnect from the digital world. Parents can set limits using in-device applications to restrict the total screen time spent per day or per session. Second, supervising digital content is important to ensure that time spent on digital devices is maximised for learning experiences. Guiding the child through digital device usage helps to improve their ability to process and interpret digital content and thereby decrease the overall time spent online. Third, having a daily schedule to allocate time for specific activities and setting boundaries on when and where digital devices can be used can be an effective approach, while simultaneously building routine and discipline during the COVID pandemic where days are largely unstructured. Fourth, parents should act as role models by reducing their own digital device usage, spending more time with their children outdoors, engaging their children in offline playtime, and involving them in non-digital indoor activities such as chores, art and craft and music.32, 35
Wong CW, Tsai A, Jonas JB, et al. Digital Screen Time During COVID-19 Pandemic: Risk for a Further Myopia Boom? [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jul 29]. Am J Ophthalmol. 2020;S0002-9394(20)30392-5. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2020.07.034