Students line up to get eyesight tests at a primary school in Huzhou City, China. (AP)

Students line up to get eyesight tests at a primary school in Huzhou City, China. (AP)

A Chinese girl uses a mobile phone in Beijing, China. (AP)

A Chinese girl uses a mobile phone in Beijing, China. (AP)

Children do desk work in China's Sichuan province. (AP)

Children do desk work in China's Sichuan province. (AP)

A boy practices writing in China. Focusing on close work tires the eyes. Computer and phone screens make it even worse. (AP)

A boy practices writing in China. Focusing on close work tires the eyes. Computer and phone screens make it even worse. (AP)

Hold the Phone!

Posted: April 29, 2019

Too much homework could be harmful—especially if it’s done on a screen. Chinese leaders want to protect kids’ eyes. Zhejiang province officials plan to ban homework on apps. Hold the phones!

The homework ban looks something like this: Teachers may not assign homework on cellphones. Extra time will be given for breaks, sports, and extra-curricular activities. Students in first and second grade won’t have any homework at all. This is a strong stance against homework! But does homework really hurt kids’ eyes?

Leaders in China see some scary statistics about eyesight. In their country, too many students have to wear glasses. Many have a condition called “myopia,” or near-sightedness. This causes the eye to stretch and become too long. It makes it hard to see things at a distance. Faraway objects appear blurry. Close objects look normal. Wearing glasses or contact lenses helps people with myopia see better. In China, 77 out of every 100 high school students are near-sighted. What is causing this high rate of myopia?

Doctors think myopia is caused by family history and lifestyle. Kids whose parents have poor eyesight are more likely to have weaker eyes. This can’t be helped. Kids who spend most of their time inside focusing on close objects like phone screens also have a risk of weaker eyes. This cause of myopia can be helped! That’s why Chinese leaders are considering the homework ban. They want to limit screen time and get kids outside more. Outside, eyes work hard. They focus on things up close and far away. Looking around outside actually helps save sight.

It honors God when we take care of what He has given us – including our eyes! More importantly, we need to be careful about what we put into our minds through our eyes. Psalm 119:37 says, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Has homework been hurting your eyes? Maybe it’s time to head outside. Ask God to open your eyes to His beautiful creation.