Optometrist urges parents to cut down children's exposure to electronic screens amid alarming research

RESEARCH has found that Redlands children are spending more than twice the recommended amount of time looking at electronic screens.

OVEREXPOSURE: About 16 per cent of Queensland children are spending more than four hours a day staring at electronic screens.

OVEREXPOSURE: About 16 per cent of Queensland children are spending more than four hours a day staring at electronic screens.

An eye health study found that 16 per cent of Queensland children, equivalent to about 4,416 in the Redlands, were spending more than four hours looking at screens on devices like tablets, laptops, phones and televisions each day.

The World Health Organisation recommends children aged two to four spend less than an hour a day looking at screens, while those younger than one-year-old should not be exposed to electronic screens at all.

Victoria Point optometrist Simone Young said staring at screens for extended periods of time could put children at risk of developing myopia or becoming short-sighted.

"I understand how strong the pull of digital screens is for children and I also know that the way children learn and play is drastically changing as technology becomes increasingly incorporated into everyday life," she said.

"It's no surprise that 90 per cent of Queensland parents say digital screen time is top of the list for their children's health concerns. But what is surprising for many is that when it comes to eye health, the biggest problem with screen time is nothing to do with the actual screens.

"It's simply the fact that normally when kids are on screens like phones and computers, there is a lot of near vision work that is often indoors without natural light.

"That's the part that's bad for your eyes. So other near vision inside work like homework and reading can have a similar negative effect on the eye."

The lounge room and bedroom were found to be the locations where children used their devices the most.

Ms Young said parents should encourage their children to spend time outside over the holidays.

"Anything from running around the garden to helping mum and dad with errands could have a huge benefit for the eyes," she said.

She said parents should visit an optometrist if they were worried about their child's eye health.

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