Saturday, January 7, 2017

This week's update
A draft of the classroom screen safety bill sponsored by Delegate Steve Arentz will be available very soon, so please follow @screensandkids for legislative updates. This bill will direct the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to create classroom safety guidelines for digital devices. It will protect Maryland students who now face known health risks and avoidable injuries because they are required to use devices every day in school, just as OSHA has protected workers from many of the same issues, since the mid-1990s.

While significant research has already established the health risks associated with daily computer use among children, more studies are routinely published and referenced. The following research emerged just this week:

Blue Light is Adversely Affecting Our Sight & Health, According to an Eye-Opening New Survey by the Vision Council
Perhaps most concerning are the effects blue light and digital eye strain are having on children. Among parents in the survey, 76.5% indicate their child(ren) receives more than two hours of screen time per day, and 55.6% say their child(ren) experiences at least one of the following after two hours of screen time: headaches; neck/shoulder pain; eye strain, dry or irritated eyes; reduced attention span; poor behavior; or irritability. 

An Overlooked Factor in the Childhood Obesity Epidemic
This eye-opening research implies that reducing the amount of time your child spends on a computer, watching television, or playing on a smartphone or tablet may prove to be a more powerful intervention to treat and prevent childhood obesity and related health concerns than previously realized. The study:  

Lots of teen screen time tied to obesity
Too much television time has long been linked to childhood obesity, but a U.S. study suggests that the connection holds true for smaller screens too, such as computers, gaming consoles, tablets and smartphones.  

What Smartphones Do to Children’s Eyes

Smartphones pose dry-eye risk for kids. New study underscores needs for comprehensive eye exams for school success.

Screen Time Works as Well as Sedatives in Calming Kids Down
 "... the levels of anxiety among both kids and their parents were similar in both groups, meaning electronic games were just as effective as the drugs." The study:

Using iPads to pacify children may harm their development, say scientists
Children throwing tantrums should be given time to calm down on their own rather than distracted with tablets or smartphones, say researchers.

Eye health 'time bomb' as kids stay indoors, increase screen exposure

"It's a big public health issue in many countries," Associate Professor Sankaridurg said.

Researchers have found that using social media makes kids less happy in almost every way
The study found that the more time kids spent chatting on social networks, the less positive they felt about school work and which school they attended, their appearance, and their family. They were also less happy with life overall. The study:

Please follow @screensandkids for timely updates as Maryland leads the nation in screen safety for our children.  A Facebook page is not forthcoming, so please post and share with your colleagues, friends and family: