This is really no news to me at all, nor should it be to you, but now the government of Japan has come out and said that the increase in vision problems amongst its youngsters is due to smartphones and portable game machines. Well, yeah.
“The proportion of primary school and high school students whose vision is [less than 20/20] has reached a record high” according to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Impressively, the analysis wa based on 3.42 million school children in Japan.
Numbers tell the story: 34% of elementary school children and 67% of high school students have less than 20/20 vision. That’s a lot of pairs of glasses, to put it mildly.There was a positive outcome for the research too: tooth decay is at an all time low in Japanese schools. Btw, Japan doesn’t fluoridate its water, if you’re curious and has generally very high levels of tooth decay, tied only with Norway according to WHO data.
But let’s circle back to eye health, because it is getting worse around the globe. Here in the United States, we are facing the same issue, and are understanding its consequences with education and childhood happiness too. Opthamologist Chris Starr tells CBS This Morning: “”Learning is 80 percent visual, if you think about the way we traditionally learn, looking at boards, reading, homework. You need good vision to learn.”
Which ultimately leads to the question: what are you doing to help your children find a balance between being outdoors and the siren song of devices, of tiny screens, their Switch, games on their Smartphone and the endless draw of Instagram, Snapchat and Fortnite? Turns out that there’s also a lot of data to show that just being outside in the sunlight can help our children grow up with better vision.
As for us, I’m glad that my kids do know the importance of being outside, of soaking up that sunshine – it doesn’t hurt your need for Vitamin D either – and of occasionally, just once in a while, turning off your darn smartphone, tablet, gaming device and computer. Now, how are you doing with all of this too?