Managing screen time in kids


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With many children spending more time at home due to the pandemic, some may be also spending more time looking at screens.

Whether it’s free time, or even virtual learning– kids are getting more than their fair share of screen time.

Recent reports show kids aged 8-18 spend an average of 7 and a half hours looking at a screen each day.

“There’s a concern about, at least adults, for sure, know the concern about the position and the strain either on the eyes or, or the neck or posture. And that, that definitely can be a concern for children as well. And then there’s always a concern is for children, are we spending too much time in front of the screen rather than running around and playing?” Dr. Mick Vanden Bosch said.

Dr. Mick Vanden Bosch is a comprehensive ophthalmologist with Sanford Health. He says one of the biggest concerns when it comes to screen time is the strain on the eyes.

“And by strain, it’s not damaging things, but it does cause fatigue. It can cause a stress tension-type of a headache,” Vanden Bosch said.

To help avoid a headache caused by an eye strain or bad posture, Heather Johnson says to follow the 20-20-20 rule.

“Which is, being on an electronic no longer than 20 minutes. And then taking a 20 minute break, looking at least 20 feet away and getting out and exercising, getting away from any screen time for a minimum of 20 minutes,” Johnson said.

If a headache does still occur though, she says be mindful of over the counter medications.

“Oftentimes what we see is that children will use over the counter medications like ibuprofen, and acetaminophen too often, which then causes rebound headache,” Johnson said.

Fortunately, both Vanden Bosch and Johnson say if the 20-20-20 rule is followed– headaches should be kept at bay.

For more guidance about screen time for your kids, click here.

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