Blue Light and Student Well-being Myth Busting
We all know how much children’s screen time has rocketed up over the last decade, especially with the rise of technology use in the classroom in blended learning environments.
But is this having an impact on student well-being? You may have heard of ‘Blue Light Over-Exposure’ as a harmful by-product of extended screen time, but what exactly is Blue Light, is it dangerous, and how can we as parents and educators respond to this?
Senso is here to answer all of your burning questions about Blue Light to help you more reasonably and effectively assist young people’s healthy use of technology.
What is Blue Light?
Blue Light is a spectrum of light that is responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycle, in nature, this is found among the light produced by the sun. Artificial Blue Light is emitted by digital device screens and other LED light sources from a much closer distance than in nature however, meaning we are exposed to greater concentrations of Blue Light.
Over-exposure to Blue Light at the wrong times of day can disrupt our melatonin production, impacting sleep schedules. This is in addition to other harms such as eye strain and dryness that overuse of screens can have on people of any age.
Is Blue Light Harmful?
Children’s eyes are not fully developed until their mid-teen years and studies have found that therefore they have a much higher sensitivity to Blue Light due to a more transparent crystalline lens in your children and larger pupils.
The impact on sleep regulation is one of the largest concerns to be aware of in regard to student well-being. Poor quality sleep interrupts the quality of learning and concentration and increases irritability, meaning that students with more exposure have been found in multiple studies to see less academic success and even exhibit more symptoms of learning difficulties.
However, other experts in children’s health have found that these issues may not be as prevalent as many claim. Rather than Blue Light itself, the contexts of exposure such as location, and time of day are more influential on behavior and development. Blue Light can boost alertness and cognitive function, improving energy and socialization among children, and when used appropriately, this can have a positive influence on learning.
Therefore, despite some claims of danger from Blue Light and calls for purchasing of Blue Light blocking classes Blue Light isn’t as harmful as is often touted. Most experts agree that moderation and other adjustments to your children’s screen time may be all you need to avoid the negative results over-exposure can have.
How to Adapt Screen Use to Best Suit Students?
Limit Extended Screen Time
The discomfort often associated with screen use is not necessarily due to Blue Light, instead being eye-strain from lack of blinking. The first step is to take a balanced approach to protect your child based on their age and the balance they require. You can find out more about this with our amazing guide on how best to limit screen time.
Where technology is increasingly central to classroom learning, enforcing regular breaks to focus on traditional learning mediums away from the screen can reduce the eye strain and protect visual health. Activities such as group discussions or reading from print textbooks can be used around the use of technology to provide this break.
There is no need to immediately banish technology from the classroom, it is an incredibly useful tool for teachers and students to get the most out of learning. However, in the interest of student safety, this needs to be approached in moderation.
Adjust the Environment
Allowing natural light to enter the classroom is an easy way to keep kids alert and prevent over-focusing on the concentrated blue light of their screens. Movement and fresh air in classrooms can also combat over-tiredness, which is often seen in children regardless of their screen exposure.
Investing in networked student Chromebooks and other portable devices can allow for increased movement and variation of technology use. With classroom management strategies and technology like this, teachers can attract children’s attention toward their studies in new ways to boost their focus on what benefits them most - learning.
Vary your Use of Technology
Different mediums of technology can provide different levels of exposure to Blue Light and refocus both your students’ eyes and attention!
Senso’s Classroom Management features casting software capabilities that can transfer student device screens to the interactive whiteboard screen. This allows for presentations and readings to be done at a variety of distances from the student’s eyes, reducing their close-range blue light exposure.
How Senso Can Help?
As leading school software providers, we have a lot of experience in designing and adapting technology with the aim to benefit children’s learning.
Check out our range of software bundles to explore how institutions, teachers, and paraeducators can improve their classroom engagement and school network organization.
If you think our School Software Solutions are right for your students, book a demo with us today or call our reliable experts at 866-664-1520.