How Smart Phones, Tablets And Devices Are Ruining Your Child’s Spine
The image below of kids hanging out at an Apple store is becoming an all too familiar scene these days. Kids sitting down, hunched over their smart phones, tablets and devices.
Think back to when you were a kid, what were you doing when you were not in school? You were most likely crawling, climbing, running, jumping, falling down and getting back up just to do it all over again. You were playing games that involved chasing a ball, trying to not get tagged, and seeing who could climb to the tallest part of the tree. These activities, that you took for granted at the time, played a critical roll in the development of your body’s muscular support structures that are essential for maintaining a healthy pain free body later in life.
Today, kids move less, WAY less than they need to in order to develop that strength in the muscles that support proper alignment of their shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. With the popularity of smart phones, tablets and other devices on the rise, it is all too common today that parents will put their kids in front of a tablet to keep them occupied while they enjoy dinner out at a restaurant.
For a child to spend minutes, even hours on end sitting and looking down at a tablet or smart phone is literally a detriment to not only the posture and health of their spine, but to their overall health later on in life. Posture is linked to respiratory, digestive and circulatory health, so the impact goes way beyond just muscle pain and soreness.
Next time you are faced with the dilemma of conveniently keeping your kids occupied with a tablet or device, keep these facts in mind:
- According to a study of young adults in the U.K., 84% of those tracked experienced back pain during the last year, mainly due to being hunched over smartphones, tablets, and computers. (Amanda Hawkins, 5 Seriously Bad Side Effects of Your Smartphone Addiction, Good Housekeeping)
According to a study in Surgical Technology International, Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, Chief of Spine Surgery reports that “The weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees. An adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position. As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees. At 90 degrees the model prediction was not reliable.” Although these figures are deducted from the adult human body, the same principals apply to children. The figure below provides a visual representation of what Dr. Hansraj is referring to:
Do your kids a favor, buy them a football instead of an iPad for Christmas this year. Not only will you save a chunk of change on holiday shopping, but you will be taking one big step towards preventing your child from being sentenced to a life of unnecessary pain and suffering.