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How Modern Devices Negatively Affect the Health of Your Child … And What To Do About It

Most parents permit their children to use modern technology and devices. However, many are oblivious to the long term damage to their child’s health.

Dr. Soroush Ebtash (Chiropractor, Health Expert and Founder of The Wellness Place, Bassendean), said that adolescents consider the use of hand-held devices such as iPads, iPhones and tablets as a part of normal day-to-day life, but most are unaware of the long term effect on their health.

“I’ve noticed with my adolescent clients over the last 10 years that there has been a dramatic change in their spinal health that impacts their lives on a daily basis,” Dr Ebtash said.

“It’s concerning that x-rays taken of most kids these days exhibit signs of early degenerative changes usually seen in later years in life,” he said.

“Studies show that there is a direct correlation between postural and spinal health and the ability of children to focus and concentrate at school, and what’s worrying is that extended periods of device use not only affects the child’s spine but compromises their ability to focus.”

“There is  an increasing incidence of patients reporting neck pain and associated headaches with an alarmingly high number of these reports coming from children under the age of 17.”

“At such a young age, and with their spine still developing, they should not be having these issues at all!”

“With their faces constantly titled down looking at their phones or tablets, it’s not surprising that most kids present with forward neck posture, stooped back and a slouching posture.”

“Kids that present with symptoms and seek treatment are the lucky ones because early intervention may correct the problem, however many don’t realise that their teenage habits may not present symptoms until later in life, which can be very costly.”

Dr Ebtash said parents and kids could consider following some simple guidelines to reduce the impact on their spine when using a device.

Take micro breaks:

Try to minimize the amount of time you spend using your device to blocks of 30 mins and 1 hour. Break this up by doing something else for at least 2 minutes.

Stretch your neck:

While seated, arch your neck slowly back by looking at the ceiling and holding that position for 15 counts. This helps to reduce the tension of the muscles in your neck and reverse the load on your spine created by looking down for long periods of time.

Stretch your upper back:

Unfortunately, after a long period of use in front of computers or using handheld devices, we all seem to adapt to a slouching position. To help rectify this, stand up, squeeze your shoulder blades back for 3 seconds, and then stretch forward by reaching forward and holding for 3 seconds.

Stretch your wrists and forearms:

Holding your arm out in front of you with elbows straight, point your fingers to the floor and use the other hand to gently press the back of your hand to provide a forearm and wrist stretch.

Dr Ebtash said that whilst we will never stop using devices, you can greatly reduce the negative effects on your health by being informed.

“No-one can deny that there are definite benefits that such devices can bring in the form of entertainment, education, and social interaction.  However, it’s important to be aware of how to use these devices without damaging your health.”

“Unfortunately, due to the recent and modern nature of this technology, we are not yet aware of the long term negative effects.  As a health practitioner I’m increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of today’s youth.”

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Dr Soroush with participants of his spinal health seminar in June this year.