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TECHNOLOGY REPORT - How Much Screen Time Is Too Much for Children?

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Children playing a handheld video game
Children playing a handheld video game

This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.

Children can spend hours a day looking at computer screens and other digital devices. Some eye care professionals say all that screen time has led to an increase in what they call computer vision syndrome.

Nathan Bonilla-Warford is an optometrist in Tampa, Florida, with VSP, Vision Service Plan, a big insurance provider. He says he has seen an increase in problems in children.

NATHAN BONILLA-WARFORD: "I see a lot more children who are coming into the office either because their parents have noticed that they have headaches or red or watery eyes or discomfort, or because their prescription, their near-sightedness, appears to be increasing at a fast rate and they're worried."

Dr. Bonilla-Warford says part of the problem is that children may be more likely than adults to ignore early warning signs.

NATHAN BONILLA-WARFORD: "Even if their eyes start to feel uncomfortable or they start to get a headache, they're less likely to tell their parents, because they don't want to have the game or the computer or whatever taken away."

He says another part of the problem is that people blink less often when they use digital devices.

NATHAN BONILLA-WARFORD: "The average person who uses a computer or an electronic device blinks about a third as much as we normally do in everyday life. And so that can result in the front part of the eye drying and not staying moist and protected like normal."

Eye doctors offer suggestions like following what is known as the 20/20/20 rule.

NATHAN BONILLA-WARFORD: "Every twenty minutes, look away twenty feet or more for at least twenty seconds from whatever device you're using."

Twenty feet -- that's six meters.

Other suggestions include putting more distance between you and the device and using good lighting. Of course, another way to avoid eye strain is to spend less time looking at screens. Many experts say children should spend no more than two hours a day using digital devices -- with no screen time for children under two.

But not all eye doctors have noticed an increase in problems in children. Dr. David Hunter says he has not seen an increase in his practice as a pediatric ophthalmologist at Children's Hospital Boston. He also serves as a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Hunter thinks calling it a syndrome, as in computer vision syndrome, is a little much. He says the real problem is simple.

DAVID HUNTER: "Spending too much time in one place, focusing on one thing, not looking away from their work, etc."

And while this might be tiring to the eyes, he says, it will not cause permanent damage.

DAVID HUNTER: "While it is possible to develop fatigue looking at various screens for a long period of time, there's certainly no evidence that it actually causes any damage to the eyes."

And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report, written by June Simms. You can learn English and much more at www.unsv.com. I'm Steve Ember.

网友的学习评论(9条):
作者:lvjiaying1984
As the technology is developing, more and more families begin to own computers and some other digital devices the screens of which we use our eyes to look at. It is sad to learn that some of our youngsters stay in the net house for several days or moths, using their eyes staring at the screens of the computers, without even a stretch or a relaxation to have their eyes relieved, except when they are hungry, having to eat something, or when they are too sleepy to continue their
作者:lvjiaying1984
looking at the screens of the computers. I have learned that there was a kid who came into the net house with a shirt on his back, but when he walked out of the net house, it had become winter. For those people whose parents buy computers for their youngsters, there are also problems. They keep their eyes on the screens of the computers all day and all night, which might make them near-sighted, as well as some other devices. As we all know that computer has brought us
作者:lvjiaying1984
into the new world which we had never met in our years before. It has made our world easier. The bank, the supermarket, and some other places all need computers and without computers the business will collapse. In home, we can all enjoy what is brought about by the computers. We can listen to the music downloaded from the website that provides free music for anyone who has linked his computer to the Internet. And people can chat with others, wherever they come from or whatever range of age
作者:lvjiaying1984
they are of. People owning a computer can chat with people from the world, sharing their thoughts with each other. Without computers, you can never imagine chatting with a foreign through what is called Internet. And you can watch online movies or download some of them for your future watching. And you can post in which section you need advice and you can recommend some suggestions to people who have posted a bulletin about their daily affairs or expertise issues. And you can play online
作者:lvjiaying1984
computer games, enjoying the feeling of winning the war towards other players. After all, computers have become the necessity of our life and without them it can hardly imagine what will happen to us. Without them, you cannot buy essentials in a supermarket because the computer is needed to summarize the amount of money you should pay for what you have bought. You cannot save money in the bank because the computer is needed to keep a record on how much money you have saved.
作者:yuanqiou098
Computers may be bad for the eyes.But I support the view of the article(the last words).Actually,it's just that parents are strict on children for their time on computer.My parent never let me play game,but sometimes let me watch some amines.Everytime I on the computer,they will put a clock beside me,and say:"You have only thirty minutes".I think,if the parents can give me more time on it,I will just catch the time.
作者:yuanqiou098
I believe that if people are free from the time on the computer,with a few days crazy on it,than,they will think it's boring.So if the parents let their children play free,and tell them the affect or consequence,or never let their children see the screen(they shall never play it themselves),It will be all right.
作者:Cathy
I agree with the person upstairs.
作者:snowwolfljb
with the development of technology and society , all person, including children, will use digital devices more and more frequently.
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