Are you the parent of a teen or pre-teen and noticing changes to their posture? Or, do you spend a lot of time on your own mobile device and worried about how it may be affecting your neck and spine?
A 2019 report by Common Sense Media, found that teens spend an average of seven hours and 22 minutes on their phones per day, not including time spent using screens for school or homework. And tweens (ages 8 to 12) are not far behind, spending four hours and 44 minutes on their phone daily, again not including time spont on schoolwork. Reports indicate that as adults, we spend on average three hours and 15 minutes on our phone per day, so we’re not doing well either, but teens and tweens in that critical development stage really need to make sure that they’re not causing damage to their spine while using their devices.
All of this time on phones, laptops and devices is leading many teens into a more sedentary lifestyle. Not only are people sitting more, they are often in a hunched position which can cause strain to the neck and spine. As chiropractors we notice changes in neck alignment, muscle strain around the neck and other spinal differences as a result of prolonged poor posture.
As parents, we can lead by example. For example, are you using your phone at the dinner table and during family outings? And have you ever examined how much time you spend on the phone? There are apps that help you track your time and usage of your phone and other devices. If you are in the 35-40% category, might you want to cut down on your use. It will also set a better example for your kids.
It’s also important that when we use our devices, as adults, we demonstrate proper sitting posture so that our children will mirror our behaviors. When we make it a priority, it helps kids to do the same.
As your local chiropractor, we can help you and your teens understand the relation between spinal alignment and posture and positioning of your mobile devices. Just ask us – we’re happy to show you the most effective ways to cut down on neck and spinal strain while on your phone. And if you notice your teen is starting to develop poor posture that seems to be constant, best schedule an appointment for a spinal checkup. Spinal health is very important as it impacts the health of the nervous system.
Teens need to practice good posture and develop good posture habits to maintain a healthy spine for life. As adults, we can encourage them with our own awareness of practicing healthy posture habits and taking care of our spine.