IPG Mediabrands collaborates with health tech to prevent myopia among kids

IPG Mediabrands combats device induced myopia with Plano

Kids today are becoming increasing myopic and suffering from short sightedness due to excessive exposure to tech devices.

In order to mitigate these effects media agency IPG Mediabrands launched a corporate social responsibility initiative with health tech company Plano to save and empower the youth.

As many as 80 to 90% of young Asian adults suffer from this disorder and its number is expected to increase to five billion by 2050 if steps are not taken to curb this lifestyle trend.

IPG Mediabrands chief executive officer Leigh Terry said that Plano flips the problem into a solution using innovative technology to mitigate the public health, societal and economic issues posed by these growing global trends.

It teaches our children how to avoid the pitfalls of excessive device usage and establish a healthy relationship with emerging technology.

At a network level IPG Mediabrands APAC have aligned to support Plano, on a pro-bono basis protracting their growth and development into markets across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, through a combination of strategic partnerships, media, expertise, and awareness driving CSR initiatives.

Naomi Michael, Head of Marketing and Communications IPG Mediabrands APAC commented, “This will be done as a part of our ‘work that matters’ programme, and via a variety of initiatives that will be rolled out over the next 12 months.

The increase in smart device usage and myopia is not isolated to one country, but rather it’s becoming a global public health and economic problem.

In Singapore alone, the direct cost of treating myopia was approximated at USD$755 million a year, with estimated global costs reaching approximately USD$328 billion per year.

Device dependency, gaming addiction, cyber bullying, diabetes and lack of outdoor activity are all growing global public health epidemics linked to excessive or inappropriate device usage by children worldwide.

“It is critical that we intervene early to reduce the risk of children developing sight-threatening myopia, as well as a host of other adverse outcomes resulting from inappropriate device usage behavior,” said Plano managing director and founder Dr Mo Dirani.

The Plano app developed to proactively prevent and correct these issues works in the background of phones and tablets.

It is the first of its kind to provide a suite of child safety functions, while using science-based features to help modify behaviour in children to reduce myopia related risk factors and encourage healthier device usage.

Carefully developed smart features empower its users to manage their children’s time spent on devices, correct face-to-screen-distance, good eye care habits, and a points generated reward system to empower device-free outdoor activity (distance viewing and UV light exposure are protective against the development of myopia).

Plano was first launched in Singapore in late 2017 with more than 60,000 downloads to date partnering with Singapore’s Health Promotion Board.

It made its foray into the Indian market last month with a study conducted on 10,000 urban school children in Delhi establishing a high incidence of myopia progression being linked to time spent in front of screens.

Plano just entered Malaysia with plans to roll-out extensively across the region within the next 6 months, and then into the USA and EMEA. To download the app visit www.plano.co.

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