The average screen time for children has never been higher. Kids and their screens are inseparable. 20 minutes of gaming, TikTok or reading, then 20 seconds of #ffweg watching and 2 hours a day outside: the 20-20-2 rule was created to prevent children from getting bad eyes, also known as myopia or nearsightedness.
#chosen from youth news
What's so bad about that "close up" viewing?
When you do a lot of close viewing, your eyeball stretches lengthwise. The more severe myopia becomes, the more your retina stretches and becomes thinner. Ophthalmologist Prof. Caroline Klaver, affiliated with Erasmus MC, gives the metaphor of inflating a balloon. Its edge is also getting thinner.
Klaver is concerned about this. 'If children become nearsighted more often at a young age, this can have major consequences later in life,' she says. 'The younger children are when they become nearsighted, the worse the eye defect will become in adulthood, and the higher the risk becomes of poor vision or even blindness later in life.'
Usually myopia begins between the ages of six and sixteen. That is the period when the eyes grow considerably and are set, as it were, for the rest of life. In Europe, half of all people in their twenties are now nearsighted. In China it is already more than 90%.We can hope that we don't go after that.
But how do you prevent myopia?
Play outside!!! Scientific research shows that daylight is enormously good for children's eyes. This is because when you play outside you look "far away", which trains your eye muscles. The advice is to play outside for at least 2 hours a day. That is quite a challenge, we know... Not every family has the living environment that makes playing outside easy.
In any case, try to let your child look far away for a while after every 20 minutes of screen time.
10x tips for looking away for 20-seconds
Does your child not know what to do in those 20 seconds for a moment? Here are some tips:
- 🐰 Cuddle with your pet.
- 👟 Run up and down the stairs as often as possible.
- 🥤 Pour a glass of water and pour it in one go within 20 seconds. Can you do this even with sparkling water?
- 🎤 Sing in canon with your bestie your favorite Junior Song Contest hit
- 🤸🏻♂️ See if you can manage to stand in a handstand against the door for 20 seconds.
- 🦵🏼 Balance on one leg for 20 seconds in hover mode.
- 👩🏽🤝👩🏼 Play tag with your sibling.
- 😵💫Turn around for 20 seconds and then try to walk forward in a straight line.
- 👀 Stand in front of the window and play with your brother, sister or bff as many rounds of "I see I see what you don't see" as possible.
- ⏱️ Or just count out loud to 20
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