Use caution giving touch screens to kids

Regarding the April 23 story “Toddlers playing with touch screens sleep less,” of course it is important for toddlers to get their sleep, because they are still at a stage where they need to sleep to grow. And even if there is no change in sleeping hours with kids who use or don’t use touch screens, there are health worries such as eyesight, due to the blue light that touch screens emit. Computer screens produce the same blue light and because of this, adults who use computers at work or on daily basis have weakening eyesight.

Some touch screen devices such as the iPhone and iPad have a feature called Night Shift that decreases the amount of blue light for use at night. While that may be beneficial, with most people using at least one touch screen device at home it’s somewhat unavoidable that children will get access to them.

I have seen parents on the train give their child an iPad when he or she starts crying. I guess that is one way to quiet their child, but I don’t think touch screen devices should be the first option. I also think that this may affect their social life. Maybe research can be done on children who use and don’t use such devices and how much the children play outside or how many friends they have at school.

It is becoming common for touch screens to be used for educational purposes, too. Given that, it may become natural for children to use touch screens in their daily life, and certainly toddlers who use touchscreens can utilize that skill when they are older.

So touch screens are here to stay, I suppose. Let’s hope that children are taught how to use them correctly, that is, in a way that does not cause problems, such as cyberbullying.

AOI USAMI
SOKA, SAITAMA PREFECTURE

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.