HKQ Kids

GIVING BLUE LIGHT THE RED LIGHT

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As our activities are limited due to pandemic restrictions, it’s not uncommon for kids to migrate directly to a touchscreen, whether it is a phone, a tablet, or even an electronic game or computer.

According to experts at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, 36% of children have either touched or scrolled on a touchscreen before their first birthday. Although they may not actually know what they are doing at that age, they are becoming rather tech savvy and comfortable with technology.

However, if you have noticed poorer sleep patterns in your children, it may not be a coincidence. A survey of 700 parents in Britain, with children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years found that for every hour a child used a touchscreen device, they got an average of 26 minutes less sleep at night, it took them longer to fall asleep, and daytime naps increased by about 10 minutes. While this is one of the first studies carried out on the effects of media use on sleep patterns for infants and toddlers, several studies have been conducted about the link between TV and video gaming to sleep and development problems in older kids.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to put electronic devices away, at least an hour before bedtime, as the light interferes with the body’s ability to fall asleep.

In addition to sleep disturbance, blue light from electronics can cause eye strain in kids as well as adults. Because of its short-wavelength, high energy blue light scatters more easily than other visible light, and it is not as easily focused. It reduces contrast and can contribute to digital eye strain.

With more remote learning and homeschooling, blue light filters have become even more important. Many devices now come equipped with a blue light filter that can be turned on or off. Your eye doctor can also prescribe blue light filtering lenses.

If you, as an adult have experienced sore, dry eyes, or have had difficulty falling asleep, blue light may be the culprit. Look through all of your electronic devices to see if there is a blue light filter, for example, Night Shift on an iPhone or iPad. Turn the TV off in your bedroom, and ignore the temptation to check your phone before retiring for the night.

Remember, your children will pattern themselves after you. Set a great example, and enjoy a restful night’s sleep.

For additional safety tips go to HKQKids.org where you can find a downloadable pdf of car seat installation tips, find us on Facebook and Instagram.