Tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices can be a great help to parents, whether it's keeping kids entertained on long car rides or distracting them. Plus, with the explosion of kid-friendly devices, educational apps that stimulate creativity, screen time can be great for kids, too.
However, useful as they are, these devices have several drawbacks. They could make a preschooler scream for more screen time instead of playing pretend, for example, or hinder a middle schooler's ability to read other people's emotions. And then there is the fact that they can severely mess with children's sleep.
Tablets, TVs, computers, and cell phones all emit blue light, which has been shown to disrupt sleep. Blue light interferes with the natural sleep cycle, called the circadian rhythm, by suppressing the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps the body and brain relax.
We have receptors in our eyes, discovered about 10 years ago, that are directly affected by the blue spectrum. When this light passes through the pupil and hits the optic nerve, it sends a signal to the pineal gland to shut off melatonin in the brain.
Children receive three times the annual exposure of adults at this wavelength, so they are susceptible to damage to their vision, the retina of children is not capable of effectively filtering UV or blue rays. So if we take care of them it can be detrimental to their vision and development.
Although other wavelengths can also disrupt circadian rhythms, blue light is especially good at it. Harvard researchers found that 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light impairs melatonin for twice as long as other spectrums, delaying sleep by a full three hours.
During the day, reducing melatonin production is a good thing. It helps us stay alert, think clearly, and feel happy. For millennia, this work fell solely on the sun, which emits far more blue light than any man-made device. But unlike tablets and smartphones, the sun doesn't follow kids into their rooms at night. It settles down, signaling to their bodies that bedtime is near. But when kids use blue light-emitting devices at night, it keeps them plugged in when they should be sleepy.
But it's not just nighttime use that's the problem, it's also the entirety of blue light exposure. And with kids increasingly using smartphones and tablets at daycare, school, and home (and in the case of teens, everywhere), the hours of screen time can add up pretty quickly.
In addition to all the screen time, today's kids also get blue light from LED bulbs. While these are great energy savers, they do emit more blue light than incandescent bulbs. With more homes and public places now equipped with LEDs, children are exposed to blue light more than ever before.
So how does this blue light exposure really impact a child's health? First, it can take them longer to fall asleep, making it difficult to get their recommended eight to 13 hours of sleep each night. Children between the ages of 6 and 17 who have at least one electronic device in their bedroom get one hour less sleep on school nights.
Sleep quality is also affected. A 2017 Israeli study found that people woke up almost twice as often during the night after being exposed to blue light versus red light. Furthermore, the blue light prevented his body temperature from dropping like it's supposed to during sleep, further sabotaging sleep quality.
When children don't get enough sleep or don't sleep soundly, they suffer the same consequences as adults: brain fog, poor memory, and mood swings, to name a few. Additionally, sleep-deprived children are more likely to have behavioral problems, such as aggression or hyperactivity, and struggle to succeed in school. Last year, a study of more than 1,000 children tracked from birth revealed that those who had not gotten enough sleep as toddlers and preschoolers had more problems with attention, emotional control, and problem-solving skills by age 7. . And, just as with adults, if sleep deprivation continues for a child, their risk of weight gain, diabetes, and other serious physical health problems increases.
To minimize the negative impacts of blue light exposure, it is recommended to limit the amount of screen time for children's entertainment to two hours a day. Also keep tablets and other electronic devices out of their bedrooms as much as possible. You should set a digital curfew, too, when all blue-light-emitting devices, including cell phones and TVs, are turned off. It is better if it is two hours before bedtime. A curfew is more difficult to adhere to with older children who may need a computer or tablet for homework, so we recommend the use of Blue light filter glasses . In our online store we have a wide range of glasses for children of all ages.
Blue light filter glasses are an excellent option so that your children can work on their homework without being affected by the effects it causes.
Get to know our line of glasses for children in this link