The effects of technology on your child’s spine. Does your child use an iPad, Tablet, Mobile Phone, play computer games, Xbox or PlayStation or use a laptop not only for school work but at home as well?
As the world of technology has dramatically developed over the last 20 years we are living in an age where we have incorporated it into our everyday lives. The demand of technological use in schools and at home has increased significantly over the last couple of years where many school children use laptops, computers, IPad/tablets every day, for prolonged hours at a time. This has resulted in the current school aged children experiencing an increase in the daily postural stressors compared to that of earlier generations. These postural stressors, if prolonged, can result in abnormal weight distribution of the forces throughout their bodies and can lead to the development of poor posture and related conditions. A study from 2009 concluded that there were no students who had an acceptable posture while using a computer at school and that
95% of the participants had to have further postural investigations and possible interventions had to be made soon, as otherwise permanent spinal adaptation could occur.
As health care professionals, we see many kids come into the clinic and parents often give them an iPad/Tablet, mobile phone, or some sort of device to keep them busy. Although it is without a doubt a very useful way to keep kids occupied, the constant looking down at the screen frequently causes their heads to be bent in a forward position as well as sitting in a suboptimal spinal position. If this only occurs for short periods of time every now and then, then the body can adapt to those changes quickly and the postural stressors won’t be as significant. However, if your child is spending multiple hours in front of technology then their spines could experience permanent adaptation to those abnormal spinal positions.
A child’s spine has not reached skeletal maturity and is not strong enough to cope with constant postural stressors for a prolonged period of time. In a developing skeleton if you increase the weight on a particular part of it, it will retard the growth…..As the twig is bent….so grows the tree. The good news is because children’s skeletal systems are not yet mature, the spine hasn’t finished developing therefore if needed we can make good changes before the spine “locks” in place. Children are in a stage in their life where it is very important for them to minimize those postural stressors as much as they can to avoid permanent adaptation to those postures.
As Chiropractors, we assess children’s health and wellbeing particularly looking at the spine and how their body is adapting to daily stressors. As the use of technology is a major stressor in a developing child it is important to get them checked periodically. You can also ask your chiropractor for ways to help reduce those postural stressors that your child is experiencing.
Book in today to have your child assessed by one of our experienced Paediatric Chiropractors to ensure their spine is in a good healthy condition.
Written by Dr. Georgia Lowe
1. Wojna, D., Anwajler, J., Hawrylak, A., & Barczyk, K. (2010). Assessment of body posture in younger schoolchildren. Physiotherapy / Fizjoterapia, 18(4), 27-39. doi:10.2478/v10109-010-0079-7
2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2011). Australian Social Trends June 2011: Children of the digital revolution. (Cat. No. 4102.0). ABS, Canberra.
3. Kelly, G., Dockrell, S., & Galvin, R. (2009). Computer use in school: Its effect on posture and discomfort in schoolchildren. Work, 32(1), 321-328. doi:10.3233/WOR-2009-0830
4. Pausic, J., & Rausavljevic, N. (2009). Changes in children’s posture from the first to the third grade of elementary school. Kinesiologia Slovenica, 15(3), 1-7. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication