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The New Rule: 2-2-20 

Here’s one rule my oldest son learned from his eye doctor’s visit today regarding screen time: 2 meters, 2 hours, 20 minutes.

My son is now only allowed to have screen time for a maximum of 2 hours if it’s any screen less than 2 meters from his vision and he must take breaks every 20 minutes. The concept is pretty much similar to the 20-20-20 rule that we are more familiar with. What's the 20-20-20 rule for those of you who may not be familiar with it? Simply stated, this rules says that for every 20 minutes spent on the screen, you need to rest by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. But I guess because kids nowadays are more inclined to play video games in closer proximity like their phone and ipads instead of their tv screens,  the 2 meter distance also applies here (and remember, here in Europe, we use the metric).

But the even bigger questions is, why does my son have to do this? 

My oldest son, Jasper, started wearing glasses about a year ago. After his yearly check-up they noticed that the shape of his eyeball is changing rapidly and that affects his vision. If you look back at how much screen time we used to have twenty years ago.. before the millennium, before all these social media apps were created and before the gaming apps. We hardly got the chance to do so.. also because we can’t afford it.  But with our kids these days? It’s sometimes a struggle to control the hours they spend on their iPads or playstation or nintendo switch, probably because we’re as guilty of the same (if not more) with screen time use. In the beginning my husband and I didn’t really think our kids would be affected as much because we do control their screen time. We only allow them to play with their iPads on the weekends for 2-4 hours. We never allow them to play during school days (except lately we’ve been letting them play for an hour or so Friday afternoon.

But Jasper most probably inherited a genetic condition of his dad’s that makes him susceptible to a severe case of myopia.  And because of this we need to be very careful. Besides the 2, 2 and 20 rule, I’ve also made sure that Jasper gets enough outdoor activity after school to encourage far-sighted visual exercises. We’re also told to make sure he gets enough sleep and maintain a healthy diet with plenty of fluids.

My son will now be monitored by the ophthalmologist every 6 months to make sure his vision isn’t getting worse too soon. The best we can do as parents is follow the doctor’s advice. One way to encourage the new screen time rule is by being creative in other activities that will keep them busy at home and still be entertained. Plus, even if they do get bored, that’s okay too. It’s all part of the learning process.

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