How much digital screen time is ok for kids? Nobody seems to be quite sure. In a 2019 report, The WHO recommended no screen time before 1 years old, and no more than one hour for 1 - 4 year olds. They also acknowledge that there are many gaps in the research to inform these recommendations and it’s worth noting that the words ‘myopia’ or ‘eyesight’ don’t feature in the report.
We can all probably agree that shows like educational Numberblocks is better than the Power Rangers for your small humans. But putting aside learning and development, we need to get to the crux of how any screen time is affecting children’s eyesight, and for this to be our top driver in relation to why parents are asking such questions. Because what we do know is that myopia is increasing at rapid pace - estimated to increase from 1.95 billion in 2010 to 3.36 billion in 2030 .
We’d be fools to think that device usage is going to go away so it seems like we’re left with 2 solutions - be more proactive in preventative methods, in combination with medical advancements in myopia and eye disease management. Our view is that we need much more awareness, education, research and initiatives around the former in order to get the myopia problem under control.
Which brings us to the Plano App: launched a couple of years ago, it is the ‘world’s first science based parental control app that keeps your children safe online and their eyes healthy’ and ‘helps encourage behaviour that is protective for myopia’.
And now Plano has partnered with top smart device provider Huawei to ensure Plano’s technologies will be a part of all facets of Huawei’s architecture. With Huawei being a Chinese company, and the prevalence of myopia being highest in Asian countries, you can see why they’ve stepped up.
Here’s a run down on some of the features:
- Alerts if you’re too close to the screen (the target is no closer than 30cm)
- Eye break reminders
- Parental controls like screen time limits, or remote device lock
- Glasses wear reminders
- Low light detection if you’re using the device in dim light
- Device posture targets
- Blue light filter activation
So Plano, when can we get this in the UK please? Better yet, when are we going to see this type of functionality built in natively to our devices, or devices developed specifically for children, given this is when our eyesight is most vulnerable?
Overall, this partnership is a great step towards fighting this global issue and raising awareness amongst parents.
 2019, The World Health Organisation, World report on vision (who.int)
 2019 The WHO - 9789241550536-eng.pdf (who.int) - Guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep, for children under 5 years of age