Alert on Teens and Technology

Parents should be aware that their teenagers could be at risk from suffering back or neck pain due to sedentary lifestyles and the excessive use of technology.

New findings from the British Chiropractic Association show that 40% of 11 to 16 year old in the UK have experienced back or neck pain. Worryingly, often parents said their son’s or daughter’s pain is a result of using a laptop, tablet or computer.

The research revealed that almost three quarters  of 11 to 16 year old spend between one and four hours a day on a laptop, tablet or computer.  On top of that, more than a third of parents said their child spends between one and six hours a day on their mobile phone.

Now chiropractors are noticing a substantial rise in the number of young people presenting with neck and back problems due to their lifestyle choices. Therefore we encourage parents to limit the time their children spend using technology and instead encourage more active leisure time.
Young people spend even more time on games consoles than doing an activity like riding a bicycle. In fact, one in five parents admitted that they don’t have one.

Please follow these tips to help their teenagers reduce the risks of back and neck pain:

  • Get your kids moving:The fitter children are, the more their backs can withstand periods of sitting still. To increase fitness levels, your child should be more active which can be achieved by doing activities including walking to school, riding a bike or going for a run.
  • Teach them how to sit:It’s important that children learn the correct way to sit when they’re using a computer. Teach them to keep their arms relaxed and close to their body and place arms on the desk when typing. Make sure the top of the screen is level with the eyebrows and the chair is titled slightly forward, allowing for the knees to be lower than the hips and the feet to be flat on the floor. Using a laptop or tablet away from a desk will encourage poor posture, so limit time spent in this way.
  • Don’t sit still for too long:Make sure children take a break from the position they’re sitting in on a regular basis and stretch their arms, shrug their shoulders and move their fingers around – this helps to keep the muscles more relaxed.
  • Lead by example:Maintaining good posture and promoting good back health is something that everyone should be doing, adults and children alike. If you make it a priority, it’s easier for your children to see the relevance.
  • Seek medical advice: Seek professional advice if your child is experiencing pain which has lasted for more than a few days. If your child wants to be more active, check that there are no medical reasons why they should not exercise, particularly if they are not normally physically active.
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