Kids’ visual abilities suffering

Digital age impacts on children’s vision, writes Estelle Ellis

The distance from the elbow to the chin was a safe distance for eyes to be from a book for reading and writing.

Nettl said parents should rather get their children test- ed if they had any concerns.

Symptoms of vision-related learning problems are:

  • Trouble reading on the blackboard;
  • Trouble completing schoolwork
  • Delayed progress or difficulties in school
  • Eye strain

  • Headaches
  • A short attention span;
  • Copying mistakes in work- books when pupils copy from the blackboard;
  • Children who try to avoid reading;
  • Children who frequently lose their place when they are reading;
  • and Poor handwriting
“My hope is that no child will experience school with an undetected and untreated eye or vision problem,” Nettl said.

But increasing use of technology among children is not only affecting aspects of their development like vision, but other physical and mental factors also come into play.

Dr Ina Diener, president of the South African Society of Physiotherapy, said exercise was especially important for children.

“Free and unstructured play is essential for our children, not only for their physical health but also for their physical and mental development.”

She said the physical boundaries of children’s worlds had shrunk for many reasons, including the perception that public open spaces were unsafe.

“One play expert calls middle-class children the ‘children of imprisonment’, confined to schoolrooms and their homes, stuck behind screens and deprived of contact with the natural world.”