Personal Development & Interpersonal Relationships

Beware of school children harming eyesight with prolonged screen usage

A study conducted by the College of Ophthalmologists of Hong Kong has found that the " head-down community head-down community	低頭族 " that is addicted to electronic gadgets is getting younger. One-third of the young children are already using electronic screens before they are two years old. They even spend as much as two hours on them every day, which greatly increases the risk of contracting eye disorders such as myopia myopia (n)	近視 . In the past month, optometrists and ophthalmologists issued similar warnings, pointing out the harm to the eyes of children with prolonged prolonged (adj)	持久的 use of electronic screens. This affects the health of the eyes of the whole generation, so parents, schools as well as the government should be more on guard and actively seek ways of reversing the trend.

Hong Kong is one of the places with the highest internet usage. Smartphones, tablets and electronic game devices are also very popular with the trend spreading from young generation to the middle-aged, oldsters and children, creating a new normal of "head-down population". The bad effects of children watching electronic screens day and night on the development of the eyes are emerging. According to the Hong Kong Society of Professional Optometrists, the ratio of Hong Kong school children having myopia is 6.3 per cent for pre-schoolers. It doubles to 18 per cent for those aged six. At 12, it even reaches as high as over 60 per cent, much higher than the figures in Australia and Europe. There are multiple reasons for that but gluing their eyes to electronic screens is certainly one.

The risk of eye diseases increases for the whole generation

Ordinary people will not consider myopia a disease and are not too concerned about myopia getting more serious. But eye experts pointed out that people with severe myopia have higher rates of suffering glaucoma, macular degeneration macular degeneration	黃斑點病變 and retinal detachment retinal detachment	視網膜脫落 than those with slight myopia . The harm may show several years later. Under the present myopia situation of children, it is expected that the number of young people with severe myopia ten years later will increase by 14,000 each year. That is quite serious.

Prolonged use of electronic products harms the eyes of children firstly because when focusing on close screens, the ciliary muscles in the eyeballs contract and become tired, making it difficult to focus on distant views. It easily leads to myopia . Secondly, the "blue light" from electronic screens can harm the retina. Though a correlation correlation (n)	相關性 between this and serious eye disease has not yet been fully established, the issue must be addressed.

The bad effects of children being part of the " head-down community " are becoming clear, but parents still do not think it is a big deal. It is because many people believe that the society has entered an electronic era, so allowing children to use electronic devices early will help them keep up with the latest developments, broaden their knowledge and get used to the new interactive mode interactive mode	互動模式 in society. The college found after interviewing parents from over 200 kindergartens that those who think that electronic devices are good for their children's development are as many as 45 per cent. It reflects the general attitude of parents.

Time spent on electronic devices should be limited

Moreover, some parents, out of love and wish to make their children happy, go with their will and buy them electronic devices. They also do not regulate their usage. By the time their children get addicted to their "electronic pacifiers", it will be too late to stop them.

As for schools, some of them use electronic teaching materials. It has become a trend. The government also wants to comprehensively promote the scheme, hoping to raise teaching efficiency through new technology. But the education sector and government authorities have not yet investigated in-depth the effect of prolonged electronic device usage on health, let alone setting detailed guidelines.

In recent years, issues of school children tending to be obese obese (adj)	痴肥的 with poor heart and lung functions as well as development have aroused more and more concern. But the harm of prolonged use of electronic screens on the eyes has not been addressed. The government should formulate a set of eye health standards earlier, including usage hours, for schools and parents as reference while encouraging school children to read more books, newspapers and printed teaching materials to prevent their eye problems from deteriorating.


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