04 Apr Kids, Devices, Diabetes and Bad Posture
There is a growing concern about kids being tied to their own or their parent’s digital devices. Kids fighting in the car? Hand them the a tablet. Kids crying while out running errands? A little phone time should allow for a smooth exit from the store without too many tears and embarrassment. I get it. One thing to be aware is the accumulation of hours that children and adolescents are spending in front of the screen. It is estimated that children aged 5 to 16 spend an average of 6.5 hours a day in front of a screen compared with around 3 hours in 1995, according to market research firm, Childwise. Children are also now multi-screening: using more than one device at the same time, for example, watching TV while surfing the internet on a tablet or mobile phone so some of the screen time will be concurrent. All of this can have a profound impact on their musculoskeletal systems; the results of which haven’t been studied at any depth.
By now, “text neck” has become a common condition in the medical community and management of neck pain and headaches. When the head is positioned incorrectly forward and down from the shoulders, it places an extreme amount of pressure and tension on the muscles and ligaments of the upper back and neck. People would never carry their groceries away from their body when carrying them to the car or house; yet, this is a perfect example of what happens to your body when your own head is out in front of you.
Additionally, children who spend too much time in front of a screen may be more likely to have risk factors that increase their chances for developing type 2 diabetes. In recent study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood (3/17), researchers analyzed health information on nearly 4,500 children between nine and ten years old and found that watching television, playing video games, or sitting in front of a computer or other device for more than three hours per day had a greater likelihood of increased body fat and insulin resistance—two significant risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Talk to your kids and ask them about their device usage habits and identify overuse patterns. If they aren’t old enough to have their own, there are apps that you can download on your own phone that limit the amount of time they get to spend on the device before it locks them out. Two or more hours on a device a day is way too much time for their body’s to maintain a poor position. Their bodies will start to adapt to what they do most frequently and it usually ends up looking the title picture for this post. It’s pretty much a guarantee for that person to experience headaches, neck pain or both in their lifetime.