A new study conducted by Optical Express suggests that more than two fifths of British parents admit that their children complain of headaches after spending a prolonged period of time in front of an electronic screen.
After uncovering worrying statistics surrounding the emphasis put on technological devices within UK households, the new findings were exposed by www.opticalexpress.co.uk and have prompted the multiple to urge British parents to use the upcoming Christmas school holidays as a chance to schedule in an eye examination for their children.
Researchers for the company polled a total of 2038 British parents, all with at least one child aged 16 and under. Participants were from an equal spread of UK regions in order to generate as valid a set of results as possible.
Of the people polled, 50% of participants had a child who wore spectacles or contact lenses, with the majority (38%) stating their child had worn spectacles or contact lenses for between 1–5 years.
All the participants were initially asked how often their child watched television, with almost three fifths (59%) admitting that they did so every day.
When then questioned about their child’s computer use, two fifths (40%) admitted that their child used either a laptop or PC every day, while 18% answered “between 2–4 times a week.”
When questioned about their child’s use of other technological devices, the majority (44%) revealed that their child/children used a mobile or smartphone every day, with just over a fifth of parents (22%) stating that their child played video games more than five times a week.
Finally, when questioned about how often their child used a tablet device, a third of the parents (33%) answered “every day,” while a further 29% answered “between 2–4 times a week.”
All the parents polled were asked “To the best of your knowledge, during a typical school day, how often is your child subject to an electronic screen?” with the majority (47%) answering “four hours plus.”
Respondents were also asked how many hours during a typical week night their child spent in front of an electronic screen. Almost a quarter (24%) answered “three hours plus,” while 16% stated that it was more than four hours.
All the participants were asked to disclose whether their child ever complained of headaches after spending a prolonged period in front of a screen and more than two fifths (43%) confirmed this had occurred.
The parents were then asked to state which electronic device may have been contributing the most to their child’s headaches. The top answers were revealed as tablet device (27%), television (23%), video game console (19%) and a smartphone (15%).
Chief medical director of Optical Express, Dr Steve Schallhorn, said: “Although parents want to make their children’s health and happiness their number one priority, it can be all too easy to overlook issues with their optical health and vision. Sometimes, headaches brought on as a result of prolonged exposure to an electronic screen will indicate that a child has an underlying problem with their eyesight, and these should not be ignored.”
Dr Schallhorn concluded: "After these findings, we here at Optical Express are urging parents who have even the slightest concerns about their child’s eye health, or those whose children haven’t been tested for a while, to take them to a local opticians during the Christmas holidays in order to put their minds at rest.”