Scientists are warning parents about the dangers associated with too much cell phone use. Children holding mobile phones too close to their face are at increased risk of becoming cross-eyed with the condition affecting children who use phones four to eight hours per day. While smartphones may seem like an easy way to keep young children entertained, doctors and researchers say that there are ways to utilize smartphones without increasing your child’s risk of eye damage.
The Daily Mail reports that researchers in South Korea set out to uncover why an increasing number of children were being diagnosed with temporary convergent strabismus or temporarily going cross-eyed. The researchers noted that the condition was rarely diagnosed in the nation but had recently become a “frequent” complaint. As a result, the study hoped to pinpoint exactly what was causing the strange phenomena. The study was performed at Chonnam National University Hospital in Seoul, South Korea.
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— Times of India (@timesofindia) April 22, 2016
What the study suggests is that children between the ages of 7 and 16 who spend four to eight hours each day on a smartphone device were most likely to become cross-eyed. The reason for the temporary eye change is believed to result from the fact that the average child held the smartphone just eight to 12 inches from their face. This, according to the study researchers, causes the eyes to focus inward, resulting in the child’s eyes to temporarily cross.
Fortunately for the children, it was revealed that doctors were able to reverse the side-effects of the cell phone usage by discontinuing the use of smartphones for two months. Though the eye problems are reversible, doctors and researchers note that they are also preventable. In order to prevent temporary convergent strabismus in a child’s eyes, it is suggested that cell phone use be limited to 30-minute intervals followed by a break for the eyes. Additionally, children should be encouraged to hold smart phones further from the face, preventing the eyes from needing to turn inward to focus.
— Tech2 (@tech2eets) April 23, 2016
While vision problems are a concern with cell phone usage in childhood, cell phone addiction is also an increasing concern among the medical community. Total Health Magazine notes that many countries are going to extreme measures to ensure children don’t become addicted to the devices. In Russia, it was revealed that government officials have advised that anyone under the age of 18 should not use a cell phone. France has also taken steps to decrease cell phone usage in children by making it illegal for cell phone companies to market their products to children. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has voiced concerns about cell phone use in children noting there isn’t enough research to call it “safe.”
Research has also suggested that cell phone use in schools leads to lower academic outcomes by causing distractions in the learning environment.
— Sam Wiley (@Sam_Wiley) April 23, 2016
With concerns surrounding vision problems, potential for addiction, and trouble learning, do you think young children should be allowed to play with smartphone devices? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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