Kids’ screen time: How much is too much?

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTCITY - Srinidhi Gopalakr­ish­nan srinidhi.gopalakr­ish­nan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

As the Covid-19 in­duced lock­down forced most schools to take the on­line route to ed­u­ca­tion, there is grow­ing con­cern among par­ents about its ef­fect on the eye­sight of chil­dren, hav­ing pro­longed ex­po­sure to screens.

Delhi res­i­dent Priyanka Singh be­lieves reg­u­lat­ing the screen time for her son helped min­imise the im­pact. “I have re­stricted Arav’s screen time as it af­fects the eye­sight, and con­tin­u­ous use of mo­bile will in­crease their de­pen­dence on it,” she says.

Ad­dress­ing the con­cerns, Delhi-based pae­di­a­tri­cian Dr PS Narang feels that it’s im­por­tant to pri­ori­tise pro­duc­tiv­ity over screen ex­po­sure. “Ex­cess of ev­ery­thing is bad. A par­ent must un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence be­tween ex­po­sure to screen for games and for on­line classes,” he notes.

Speak­ing from her par­ent­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, city­based PR pro­fes­sional Ran­jini Cha­lam en­dorses mon­i­tor­ing screen time be­yond classes. She says, “On­line classes are the only way to con­tinue the learn­ing process at this point.”

In­deed, for the well-be­ing of chil­dren, Cap­i­tal-based se­nior oph­thal­mol­o­gist Dr Prashaant Chaudhry rec­om­mends the 20-20-20 rule. “Ev­ery 20 min­utes, take a 20-sec­ond break and fo­cus on some­thing at least 20 feet away,” he shares, while em­pha­sis­ing on the need to ex­pose kids to nat­u­ral light and of­fline ac­tiv­i­ties.

How­ever, Meenal Se­h­gal, a teacher and mother of kids who’re at­tend­ing on­line classes, feels schools should rely more on hand-outs and work­sheets. “Chil­dren be­low 12 years need to be ex­posed to as much nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment as pos­si­ble. Ex­pos­ing them to com­put­erised learn­ing may in­stil in­dif­fer­ence to en­vi­ron­ment,” she says.

PHOTO: SHUT­TER­STOCK

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