Extensive research has discovered an undisputable link between short-sightedness in children and the amount of time they spend playing outdoors.
We know we run the risk of sounding like we are well into our 70s by saying this, but things really aren’t the way that they used to be. If you are around 20 or older, you likely remember your childhood being very different from the one present-day kids are going through. Technology has come so far that it has changed a lot of aspects of our lives, and that includes the lives of our children.
Now let’s make something clear. Most of us grew up watching some form of television and probably playing video games quite a bit. However, neither of those mediums were as extensive or easily accessible to children as they are today. Kids can now play games with their friends online, so why go out at all, right?
Well, researchers have recently come up with one very good reason. As reported by The Guardian, several studies have discovered a link between children who stay indoors more often than others and short-sightedness. “Periods indoors doing indoor activities does increase your risk of myopia,” explains Katie Williams, an author of a study by King’s College London. They discovered that for every extra hour a child spent playing video games per week increased their risk of developing myopia by 3%.
It doesn’t sound like much on the surface, but quickly adds up when you consider how much more today’s children tend to play video games. Some of you may be reading this and quite rightly thinking a child’s sight, good or bad, comes down to genetics. To an extent, you are correct. However, spending too much time indoors certainly isn’t going to help, whatever a child’s genes might dictate.
To add to the genetic argument, there has also been a marked rise in children suffering from short-sightedness over the past couple of generations. While genes naturally evolve and change, they don’t do so that quickly. The human race’s increased use of screens and tendency to stay indoors is having a negative effect on our eyesight. However, it is not too late to change that for the current and future generations of children.