The Effects of Screen Time on Eyesight and the Brain by Lucy Keen
Increased screen time worsens our eyesight. Children and adults have had to do more work on the computer since lockdown. This has had a detrimental effect on their eyesight. It could also make people more interested in the internet and more dependent on technology. This could lead to other skills being worsened.
In an article written by Fight for Sight, an eye health charity, findings from a survey suggest that, “out of 2,000 people, half used screens more since Covid struck and a third (38%) of those believed their eyesight had worsened”. Those who took part in the survey also “reported difficulty reading, as well as headaches and migraines and poorer night vision”.
Fight for Sight refer to a risk of people losing their sight due to a fear of catching Covid when attending eye appointments.
On a positive note, the same article reports that damage to vision caused by prolonged screen time may not be permanent.
On a grander scale, there has also been research into the effects of screen time and the brain. In an article by Debra Bradley Ruder of Harvard University, she refers to the work of paediatrician Michael Rich. He describes how “the growing human brain is constantly building neuro connections while pruning away less used ones”.
As it states in the introduction, there is a risk that people may become more dependent on computers. Focusing on children, a possible advantage is that they would become more ‘tech savvy’. However, Michael Rich highlights a possible disadvantage, in that “Boredom is a space in which creativity and imagination happens”. Children may therefore become less able to use their imaginations. He also examines the fact that children lack a fully developed self-control system, so this may lead to them demonstrating obsessive behaviour.
To conclude, there are clearly benefits and drawbacks to the impact that screen time has on eyesight and the brain. The findings will only be clear when this pandemic is over.
Article by Fight for Sight.
‘Screen Time and the Brain’ Article, by Debra Bradley Ruder, from Harvard University.