This means that, based on a 12-hour day, children are spending more than a third of their time looking at screens and just six per cent outside.
The study of 1,500 parents of children aged six to 16 found 63 per cent find it hard to get their child outdoors sometimes, with more than two in 10 (22 per cent) feeling ‘sad’ when they want constant screen time.
And more than two thirds (68 per cent) believe their kids are ‘addicted to screens’, with seven in 10 eager to get their youngsters outside more.
But the poll, commissioned by vision care company HOYA Lens UK and Ireland, found 59 per cent of parents aren’t aware that time spent outdoors can delay the onset of myopia (short-sightedness) in the young.
Professor Kathryn J Saunders, optometry division head at Ulster University, said: “Struggling to reconcile the benefits of digital devices for learning against the concerns over children becoming ‘addicted to screens’ is an issue which I suspect affects the majority of parents.
“We know from research studies around the world that the environments in which our young children are growing up and the behaviours they undertake are promoting short-sightedness (myopia) and encouraging short-sight to occur at an earlier age than in previous generations, both in other countries where studies have been carried out and here in the UK.
“Researchers have also proven a clear relationship between being short-sighted and spending less time outdoors in childhood. Getting children outside more regularly or for longer periods during daylight hours is an excellent way for parents to promote a ‘healthy visual diet.’
“Not only will children be outside, an environment which has been shown to delay the onset of short-sightedness, but this will also remove them from being in front of the addictive screens that parents are so concerned about.”
The poll also

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