Why Improper Phone and Tablet Use may be Setting Your Child up for a Painful Future

It’s no question that children are being exposed to technology at younger and younger ages. With the ease of keeping your child’s favorite shows, movies and games on smart devices, it’s no longer uncommon to find children even as young as toddlers with iphones and ipads in their hands. Although smart technology has solved many problems for families with young children, there are consequences that we need to be aware of.

One of the possible negative health effects of phone and tablet use in children comes from the position many of our kids sit in while looking at these devices. A common position our children choose to view their devices in is neck flexion. Neck flexion is defined as bending the head forward towards the chest. This occurs when our kids hold their device down too low or in extreme cases place them on their laps while viewing. A recent study found that prolonged neck flexion in children could significantly impact their spinal health and lead to pain and disability as they grow. In this study, a 16 year old developed severe cervical kyphosis after years of reading in a neck flexion position. Cervical kyphosis is defined as a reversal in the neck curve and is known to cause increased incidences of musculoskeletal and neurological symptoms, decreased blood flow to the brain, decreased quality of life, and a myriad of functional disabilities like difficulty swallowing and or breathing. The researchers of this study state “the child’s parents were not aware of the gradual changes that were occurring in his spine until his mild occasional neck discomfort became constant and unbearable, almost rendering him incapacitated.”

At Modern Chiropractic Center we believe in prevention and early detection of spinal deformities such as cervical kyphosis. In order to reduce the negative effects of smart device use it’s incredibly important to teach your kids proper postural habits and ergonomics. Below are 3 tips you can share with your children to help prevent poor postural habits like prolonged neck flexion.

1. Hold your phone or tablet at eye level – holding your smart device at eye level will keep you out of neck flexion. This might be a tough habit to break, but start to catch yourself anytime you bring your phone below eye level.

2. Take breaks – screen time should have time limits. It’s ideal to limit our children’s interaction with technology to an hour or less. At the end of every hour, it is recommended for kids to stretch and move around before getting back on their devices.

3. Encourage physical activity – exercise is key in order to help prevent poor posture from developing from the use of technology. Organized sports that help strengthen the upper back and shoulders should be encouraged if your children are interested. Activities like playing on the monkey bars, riding bikes, and hiking are also great activities to engage in.

If you are worried about your child’s postural habits while using their smart devices, the first step towards ensuring their spinal health will be finding a doctor certified in CBP (Chiropractic Biophysics) analysis and corrective methods. These doctors will use the latest methods of biomechanical analysis to measure and assess the severity of your posture and spinal alignment. If it is found that your child’s spine has been negatively impacted by postural habits like neck flexion, CBP certified doctors will review the evidence-based methods that can be used to help manage and possibly correct your child’s imbalances.

Here at Modern Chiropractic Center we have the staff and doctors you need to help you find the solutions that you have been looking for. Give our office a call at 208-314-1357 (Boise location) or 208-205-9934 (Nampa location) to get scheduled for a free consultation and exam.

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