When Education Is Digital, How Can You Protect Your Kids From Blue Light?

Virtual classes and online education have become popular in recent years. One of the biggest factors for the integration of online learning was the COVID-19 pandemic, where students and educators across all levels had to adapt and implement alternative ways of learning amid health hazards. While the majority of institutions have since resumed attendance in classrooms, some classes continue to be conducted online. A lot of these classes are geared towards instruction for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) subjects and are even available for children.

Conducting online classes does present its own challenges, as children need to be engaged properly in order to learn effectively. However, there are also some health issues related to virtual learning, as prolonged exposure to screens can lead to eye health risks because of the blue light they emit. This exposure is especially unsafe for children, and blue light protection should be a priority.

How blue light affects the eyes

Blue light is the visible light at the blue end of the spectrum. LED and digital screens emit this kind of light and are linked to health concerns. The common risks associated with exposure to blue light from screens include eyestrain, headaches, and the disruption of sleeping patterns. However, some research suggests that children are at larger risk of the effects of blue light since it can affect puberty and even damage future fertility. Exposure to blue light has also been connected to a higher risk of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, eating disorders, and conduct disorders in growing children. Considering these harmful effects, some parents may hesitate to allow their children to continue with virtual classes since they require prolonged screen time. However, there are actionable ways to help protect children from the effects of blue light exposure. Here are a few to consider:

Wear blue light glasses

Besides putting distance between the eyes and the screen, another form of mitigating the effects of blue light is by wearing the right accessory. This is why you should buy blue light glasses. These eyeglasses are designed to protect the eyes from UV and preserve visual comfort by filtering blue-violet light. This light not only causes eye strain but may also accelerate the aging of the retina. The ideal choice is to choose lenses that filter out some blue-violet light and allow turquoise blue light to pass through while having the most neutral tint possible. Using blue light glasses is also beneficial for children who struggle with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) since it lessens digital eye strain and can help them stay focused and concentrated for longer periods of time.

Use screen filters

Although using blue light glasses can help greatly, you can take it a step further by filtering the light emitted through your devices. Some research found that using screen filters is one way of reducing exposure to blue light since they can easily be applied to the screens of your computer, laptop, phone, and tablets. Sources from Medical News Today also cited that since screen filters can reduce blue light, using them can also decrease the risk of sleep-related issues. This is beneficial for children, as they need to maintain healthy sleeping habits to promote their overall wellness and development as they grow.

Create distance from screens

When using digital devices at a close distance, the eyes need to turn inwards toward the nose for the words on the screen to remain in focus. This could lead to further eye strain as the muscles that are responsible for moving the eyeballs get tired from holding the eyes in an unusual position for long periods of time. Furthermore, it can cause discomfort for your child and even lead to poor posture. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that the computer or tablet screen be placed at a distance of approximately 60cm (the length of two rulers) from your child’s eyes. Additionally, their head should tilt slightly downward towards the screen. Increasing the font size of text is also recommended so children can avoid squinting or leaning in too close to see better.