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The 4th ‘T' of Stress...Technology!

Technology

We usually reference the ‘3 T’s of Stress’ that our bodies experience as being Trauma, Toxins and Thoughts. In this 21st century we’ve been forced to add a new ‘T’ to the mix, which is Technology.

A recent study in America has shown a significant increase in back pain among children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18. There may be several factors that contribute to this increase; including overloaded backpacks and a lack of active play, but one undeniable contributor is modern use of technology. Children are being introduced to electronic devices at an early age and adults’ lives are typically dominated by their devices.. another study in Australia has estimated that children spend 1/3 of their day in front of a screen!

So how is Technology a stressor to us?

Most obviously, the use of electronic devices affects your posture. Whether it’s a phone, tablet or computer, the head is typically forward of the shoulders and looking downward, which also beings the shoulders forwarded into a rounded position. This might be tolerable in small amounts, but the length of time that people spend using their devices places a huge amount of strain on the spine and supportive muscles. This could set children up for a lifetime of spinal dysfunction and pain, not to mention the impact this could have on the nervous system that their spine is protecting, which could include learning difficulties, digestive upset, headaches or sleeping problems.

In addition to the physical strain that the use of technology causes, there’s also the artificial light that can overstimulate our brain and affect our sleep-wake cycle, which in turn can impact our hormone regulation and a several other normal bodily processes as well as our mental health. The concept of ‘digital dementia’ is also emerging, where we are losing the ability to store things into our long-term memory because things are so accessible on our devices that we’re not practicing our ability to learn and retain new information.  

Obviously, technology isn’t going anywhere, and we don’t necessarily want it to.. But moderating and modifying device usage can minimise the affects it might have on our and our children’s health.

Technology tips:

Encourage children to use devices wisely; either prop up the device so that it is at eye-level, or have the child lie on their stomach with     the device in their hands in front of them.

Encourage children to use devices wisely; either prop up the device so that it is at eye-level, or have the child lie on their stomach with the device in their hands in front of them.

  1. Encourage children to use devices wisely; either prop up the device so that it is at eye-level, or have the child lie on their stomach with the device in their hands in front of them.
  2. Hold the device straight out from your face rather than drop your head to look at it.
  3. Have ‘screen-free’ boundaries at home, keeping screens away from the bedroom and dining room for example. Also take regular breaks every 15 minutes.
  4. Schedule ‘green-time after screen-time’ where children (and adults) go outside after using screens to help reset depth of vision and attention as well as boost our dopamine levels (our feel good hormone).
  5. Limit screen-time for under 6-year-olds (go to www.drkristygoodwin.com for recommended guidelines according to age) and have one or two designated tech-free days each week
  6. Check yourself! Put your phone out of reach, turn it on silent, stop mindless scrolling and be present in the real world. Our children will follow our lead and are growing up with digitally distracted parents. If this is scary for you, start with a 30-60 minute window per day where you can do this and then gradually extend it.
  7. Have regular spinal health checkups with your chiropractor

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