Screen time and physical problems
Using screens for prolonged periods of time or with bad posture can cause pain and discomfort. For example:
- Looking at a screen intensely can cause sore, irritated and dry eyes, headaches and fatigue.
- Looking down at a device can make your child’s neck and back uncomfortable.
- Doing repetitive finger movements can make your child’s hands sore.
- Being inactive for long periods using a screen can lead to a less active lifestyle. This could lead to obesity.
Reducing the risk of physical problems from screen time
You can reduce the risk of physical problems from screen use by encouraging your child to:
- break up screen time
- be physically active
- use good posture.
Breaking up screen time sessions: tips
Here are some tips to help your child break up screen time sessions:
- Take regular breaks from the screen and get up and move around. For example, your child could use a timer to set breaks every 30 minutes, and do something active when the timer goes off.
- Use ad breaks, the end of short videos or the end of game levels to do something active. For example, you could challenge your child to see who can do the most star jumps before the ads end.
Encouraging your child to be active: tips
Here are some ideas to encourage your child to be physically active:
- Make physical activity part of everyday life. Physical activity for children and physical activity for teenagers can include walking around your neighbourhood, riding to school, playing outside, playing sport and so on. Household tasks like gardening, washing the car and vacuuming can keep your child active too.
- Combine screen use with physical activity. For example, use digital walking maps, dance and sports apps, game consoles like Xbox Kinect or Nintendo Wii, physical skills videos and so on.
Getting good posture: tips
Here are some ideas for good posture for your child:
- Help your child use a neutral neck position when she’s using a phone or tablet. For example, you could get your child a stand or a case that holds the tablet at a comfortable viewing angle.
- Encourage your child to hold the phone at eye level.
- Remind your child to regularly look away from the screen into the distance.