As we look forward to warmer rainy temperatures, I think about the growth to come. Bushes and trees will once again start to grow and turn green, showing signs of life. Children are also growing, just as they have been through the winter months. Children’s bones are actively growing until they are ages 18-21. The spinal health of a child is very important because the bones in the back and neck protect the spinal cord and nervous system, and are the foundation that holds the body upright.
The use of technology in this smartphone era is negatively affecting kids as they are growing. A recent report by CNN claimed that teens and tweens spend an average of nine hours per day consuming media through different technological devices. That is more time than an average person would sleep in a day. The same report claimed that 67 percent of teens own a smartphone and 53 percent of tweens have their own tablets. Having technology is not the problem. The problem is that the children are constantly bending forward to watch or read the smartphones and tablets. Bending forward at the neck can cause forward head posture that can result in pain, dysfunction of joints, and even a decrease in respiratory capabilities.
It is extremely important to make sure children have correct posture while they are growing and their bones are still developing. Correct posture when standing involves having shoulders back, chest forward and head over shoulders. Slouching, tilting to one side or the other, or having uneven shoulders are signs that a child or adult does not have proper posture. Most of the time, posture corrections can be made with lifestyle changes such as putting down the technology and participating in physical activities. Incorrect posture may lead to pain or conditions like scoliosis, which may require assistance from a medical professional.
As technology advances at a rapid rate, we must make sure that we keep track of how much time we use our technology. In general, children should restrict the time spent on phones and tablets. If you are concerned about your posture or your children’s posture, you should check with a medical professional.
By Dr. Jordan Harrell, contributing writer and chiropractor at Towne Lake Family Chiropractic.