In today’s world, it’s impossible to ignore technology. Be it for work, research or entertainment, people of all ages have become dependent on various forms of technology.
Gaming and surfing on smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers have replaced good old indoor and outdoor activities.
Research carried out by Pew Research Centre, shows just how alarming this trend really is:
• 84% of Americans aged 12 and over own a mobile phone, and 31% have their own smartphones
• Teenagers between 15-18 years of age spend an average 1 hour and 51 minutes daily sending texts
• Kids between 11-14 years of age spend an average of 1 hour and 13 minutes texting
This data just goes to show just how much time is being spent using technology. Texting is merely the tip of the iceberg – social media, networking sites, gaming, the list is endless!
Impact of Gadgets on Health
The “overuse” of technology and gadgets is affecting users everywhere, increasing the risk of developing backaches through spinal misalignments and other health problems.
Some of the main causes of concern include:
• Sedentary Lifestyle – Sitting around for long periods (hours at a time) without moving around inculcates procrastination and promotes lethargy. Since being active is one of the best ways to remain healthy, this is one of the major reasons why health care experts advise against a sedentary lifestyle.
• Hampering of Mental Health – Youngsters spending most of their time on the phone, tablet or computer can be a recipe for disaster, as it brings with it a lack of contact with other people, depression, and poor sleep habits. In fact, these are just a few of the disturbing mental and emotional conditions that result from “cutting off” from the real world.
• Development of Postural Problems – Hunching over a phone or tablet screen, with a head that on average weighs 10 pounds, adds undulating pressure on the spine, in turn ruining the alignment of the body and leading to back pain, neck pain, etc. As per experts, slouching also reduces the capacity of the lungs by 30%. In fact, the term “Text Neck” was coined in 2008 to describe this posture!
Ergonomic Tips to Avoid Common Health Issues
Some of the most disturbing side effects that cause doctors and parents to argue for limiting children’s access to technology revolve around the damage caused to their back, spine and neck. Here are some simple ways to prevent this from happening:
• Encourage Movement – A high fitness level is imperative, and engaging in sports such as swimming, cycling, tennis, soccer or even simply walking, can go a long way in withstanding the ill effects of sitting still for long periods of time.
• Press on Perfect Posture – Perfect posture is necessary not just while using technology, but even otherwise. When sitting in front of a computer or even in a car, make sure your kids sit straight, back firmly against the seat, shoulders touching the back rest, elbows in a comfortable angle, knees lower than the hips and feet flat on the ground.
• Adjust the Screen: Study or work often condemns teenagers and young adults to long hours on work stations, so ensure that the top of the computer or laptop screen levels with the eye brows. As for mobile phones, and tablets, attempt limiting usage for young children.
• Stress on Frequent Breaks – Ensure that your children take regular breaks from the computer to avoid neck and back pain. They can take a walk, stretch their muscles, rotate their shoulders, flap the fingers, and re-hydrate.
• Don’t be Afraid to Seek Medical Assistance – If back pain or neck pain persists for longer than a few days, seeking professional help is necessary, so visit a chiropractor or your GP to avoid further ailment.
• Be a Role Model – As a parent or teacher, it’s important to remain well informed and practice what you preach. Your kids will emulate your actions, and these tips are equally essential for older technology users – good health is the top priority!
Lisa Parker grew up in the beautiful state of Colorado and has been a nature lover since childhood. She eats organic and fresh produce and is a regularly practices yoga and meditation to keep her grounded. She currently works for Pro Chiropratic Clinics as a Patient Counsellor and strongly believes that body posture plays a vital role in giving us the strength, both inside and out. She blogs about healthy lifestyle and topics that revolve around keeping your body strong and fit. “Travel, read, learn, love yourself, dress your age and smile from ear to ear” is her moto in life.
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