Eye-Friendly Computer Tips for Virtual School Families
In today’s high-tech world, children are surrounded by smart phones, game systems, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. Be sure that as a parent, you teach and practice positive habits for using electronic “gadgets” to help your kids learn how to maintain good eye health. In our final vision-related blog post for Children’s Eye Health and Safety month, you’ll find hints from the American Optometric Association for eye-friendly computer use for your children and yourself.
- Do a screen test. Check your children’s computer monitor to be sure it’s set up for high resolution, as well as for appropriate brightness and contrast, which provide maximum sharpness of screen images, particularly for reading text.
- Adapt for the vertically challenged. Computer workstations are usually set up for someone of average adult height, but your kids are smaller than that! For comfortable, ergonomic viewing of the computer, children should be about 18 to 25 inches from the computer screen, looking slightly down at it. You may need to adjust the chair or provide a pillow to boost your student to an appropriate height. If this makes it impossible for your child’s feet to touch the floor, a box, footrest, or stack of books should do the trick.
- Eliminate glare. No one enjoys seeing a reflected window or lamp in the computer monitor—and this can also cause eyestrain. Adjust or reposition the desk and/or tilt the monitor to eliminate reflections and glare when viewed from your child’s height. You can also try dimming the lights in the room to match the computer screen.
- Remind kids to blink! Normally, humans blink about 18 times a minute, but only half that while using computers. To avoid dry eyes, remind children to blink frequently.
- Focus on something far away. To keep eyes focusing without strain, prompt kids to use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Stay involved. Parents should guide children’s use of computers. Be on hand to help, answer questions, and interact with your student. By observing your child at work on the computer or participating in online activities, you can learn a lot about how your child thinks or comprehends the learning materials.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Remember, as a virtual school parent, you should always keep in mind that computers should supplement, not replace, educational activities such as making art, reading books, listening to or playing music, and exploring outdoors. And be sure to include time in your child’s day for exercising the body and the imagination through dramatic play, recreation, and socializing with other children.
Do you have any effective, creative ideas for pulling kids away from computers and videogames without a fight? Please share your mom- and dad-tested tips below!