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Eyes – Can We Safeguard Our Windows to the World?

Protecting eyes is a must.

A toddler in the shopping trolley scrolling over rhymes
A father watching news as the child plays games on the mobile.
A mother finishing her chores while kids watch TV.
Grandparents letting the child watch unlimited TV to avoid the child’s tantrums.
Toddlers watching cartoons at the day-care till parents come back.

Common Visuals of current times!

With second generation nuclear families, most are single child or maximum two children families.
People are opting for proximity to the workplace over staying with parents. The earlier generations had
grandparents, aunts and cousins around in the growing up years. For most in this generation, that has
become a dream.

Screens have become their nannies. They are so addicted to moving images which give them instant
gratification and pacification, that any restrictions result in tantrums. Adults themselves are spending a
lot of time on devices, which makes it difficult to explain to children the bad effects of too much screen
time.

Healthy blue light, which is beneficial for brain-eye coordination is available abundantly via sunlight.
Though the blue light emitted from screens is only a fraction of what sunlight emits, the cause for
concern is the time spent in close range on the screens. Such excess artificial light is what can harm the
eyes.

From the moment a baby opens its eyes, the brain is gathering information. Introducing a phone to a
baby of less than a year, to stop them from crying is a convenient option, but the most harmful thing we
can do to a child’s brain.

And many kids end up getting spectacles by the time they are 5.

Early measures that can help:

  • Instead of alphabet songs on phone, parents can take turns playing at least an hour with alphabet toys
  • Speak to them more to teach them language rather than through cartoons
  • Cut short their screen time to inculcate social skills
  • Sing rhymes to them from a book to engage them instead of letting them watch TV

Wondering what measures Samashti has in place for online classes?

  • After every 30 minutes of online classes, 10 minute Pomodoro breaks are a great way to help retain what students have learnt and also to take a break from the screen.
  • Continuous gazing at a screen at close range can damage the retina. We follow the 20-20-20 method in which after every 20 minutes of screen time, a child is told to look at an object 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. This relaxes the eye muscles.
  • Activity based learning for small children so that focus of the eye is divided between the screen and the activity.

What can you do at home?

  • Fix an age appropriate time period for recreational media. A 2 year old can’t watch as much as a 10- 14 year old.
  • No extra screen time for their expected routines or good behaviour like finishing homework on time. That makes them think that screen time is so important, that they have to earn it doing regular chores.
  • No screens after 7pm for an undisturbed sleep and rest to the child’s eyes.
  • Reading a book in dim light is a sure shot way to end up with spectacles.
  • A vitamin rich diet helps.
  • Making them do eye exercises like slow blinking for a minute works well to avoid strain.

Unlike a Praying mantis which has 5 eyes – 2 big ones to detect movement and 3 smaller ones to detect
light or a Spider which has 8-12 eyes or a Starfish which has an eye on each of its arms, humans have
only two.

Protecting them is a must.