Should Kids Have Screen Time Before Bed?

Should Kids Have Screen Time Before Bed?

The Canadian Association of Optometrists released a position statement where they advise children should avoid digital devices for at least one hour before bedtime to avoid disruption of their sleep.1 This means you might have to adjust your child’s bedtime routine to ensure they don’t have any screen time—whether it’s watching a show on television or playing a game on a smartphone—prior to going to bed.

Effects of Screens on Children

Screens emit artificial blue light that can interfere with the natural circadian rhythm—our sleep and wake cycle—by suppressing the production of melatonin. Without melatonin, it can be harder to fall asleep and once you do, you’ll likely experience poor sleep quality. Since sleep is extremely important in the development of children, it’s crucial that screen time doesn’t negatively affect their ability to get a full night of restful sleep.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Canadian Association of Optometrists has released a recommendation on the amount of screen time is acceptable for children1.

Age

Screen Time Per Day

0 – 2 Years

None

2 – 5 Years

No more than one hour per day

5 – 18 Years

No more than two hours per day

Many people might be surprised to learn just how little time their children should be using digital devices, but there’s serious concern among doctors, scientists and even teachers over the correlation between exposure to screens and the increased risk of obesity, poorer school performance, decreased sleep quality and delays in critical cognition, learning and social skills.1

While it’s nearly impossible to keep children completely away from screens, it’s extremely important to monitor how long they’re using smartphones, computers, tablets and watch for signs of eye irritation or behaviour change. If you ever have any concerns, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with an eye doctor.

Hakim Optical offers comprehensive eye exams through our Eye Exam Centres, available throughout Canada at many of our locations.

At Hakim Optical, we are committed to providing our customers with fast and simple solutions to their eyewear needs. Our expert staff, one-hour labs and low prices combine for the complete shopping experience.

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1 Canadian Association of Optometrists. “Effects of Electronic Screens on Children’s Vision and Recommendations for Safe Use.” Retrieved on January 21, 2019 from https://opto.ca/sites/default/files/resources/documents/en_joint_position_electronic_screen_time_under_12_final_november_5_2017.pdf