Phone, Tablet, or Device User? Adolescent “Text Neck” is a Real Thing

“Shoulders back – chin up – engage your core. Repeat”.

I had been repeating this to myself daily after learning from the The Center for Physical Rehab that I could be prone to “text neck.” It was even more on my mind when I realized that it can affect my kids.

Afterall, I use devices for my job, and my kids use them for fun (they LOVE their old school nintendo game system!).

Thankfully, the “shoulders back” move isn’t the only thing we can do to keep our posture healthy while on screens. 

Our CEO Melody made a video with CPR to show what we need to be aware of with video game and device postures and how to counteract symptoms.

While we’re on the topic, show this to your kids for possibly the most crucial 5 minute screen time they’ve had in a while:

Text Neck is Real

Summer. Sun. Sand. Video Games??! This new era of electronic devices has changed how we sit and play. Watch this video with your kids. It's a short, helpful look at how you can keep your body healthy while playing on phones and tablets. I especially like the "chicken neck" exercise. 😂 Thanks to The Center for Physical Rehabilitation for the great tips!

Posted by Grand Rapids Kids on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Why? Because Text Neck is a real affliction!

How to Counteract “Text Neck” in Kids

Generally, we think of back and neck pain as something we face as we get older, but kids also need corrective posture. 

And though it sounds ridiculous, it’s becoming more common and is something parents need on their radar.

Here’s What We Need to Know About Text Neck/Video Game Postures

When kids are in one position for too long – this single sustained posture can cause back and neck issues. Its symptoms include: back and shoulder blade pain, neck pain, headaches, and soreness.

kids and screen time

5 Ways Kids can Avoid Text Neck

1 – There is no right or wrong posture.

We can get caught up thinking that we need to stay perfectly upright. (I instantly think of Anne of Green Gables trying to balance a book on her head.) It’s ok – kids don’t have to be perfect. The problem is not posture, the problem is the length of time they’re locked in one posture.

Tip: Set an alarm during screen time at the 10 or 15 minute mark.

Example: have them take a break, walk around, or move to a reverse position.

2 – It’s important for kids to REVERSE POSTURE during screen/device time.

We often see this “neck hanging almost in my lap, slouched over look” like I have in the above picture.

Kids and adults alike are playing handheld devices, texting, in the car watching movies, catching up on emails while at a doctor appointments, you name it. Screens are everywhere!

CPR-PT specialist Tom gives an example of how a finger would feel bent back for 30-60 minutes. Ouch!

I personally know this to be true. Both of my boys had torticollis at birth. They were cramped up in one position for months, one needing 3 months and the other one year to recovery. This may sound extreme, but the effects of 30 minutes to hours every day in the same position, if not counteracted or corrected, can cause formative issues in kids.

Tip: Give your kids a cue to change their posture by reversing the posture they are in.

Example: If hunched over, raise device to eye level and lift head.

3 – Do these Stretches/Exercises.

CPR’s amazing specialists have given us two easy at home stretches to do with our kids.

(An added bonus is that it could help them start implementing stretching at a young age, an important tool for longevity and full health into our elder years.)

Tip: Try these exercises after screen time.

Example: My kids may not leave the house without their rooms clean and outside clothes on. Just like getting out for the day – we can make a new routine. Now, we will stretch after screen time before moving on to the rest of our day.

4 – Changing their environment can be an added help upon verbal cues.

CPR’s specialist, Dacry, says that setting/environment changes can go a long way in changing positions/posture.

Tip: Move them from the chair or surface they are in to another room or higher elevated space.

Example: Place device on a table or counter instead sitting on the couch.

5 – Before we say “This is not for my kid” –  no kid is exempt unless they have zero screen time.

No matter the amount of screen time – reverse positions are pivotal. I’d consider myself a bit conservative when it comes to how much screen time we allot our kids. I was shocked to hear that this is something we need to be aware of even at a half hour of screen time a day. As little as 10 – 15 minutes in the same position can cause issues or pain.

Tip: Time/Clock their full screen time to give you a guide of when you’ll need to give cues or changes.

Example: “Johnny, it’s time to put the screen up on the table” “Sally, let’s move to the kitchen counter for the last half of Daniel Tiger.”

avoiding text neck in kids

What Can I do if My Child is Suffering from Text Neck?

Are your kids experiencing any of the text neck symptoms? If so, it’s easy to make an appointment with CPR to get your kiddos back on track. Their staff is extremely friendly and will set you up with a complimentary consultation. They do this to make sure you’re getting the best help you and your kids need.

If you’re like me and you creep back into focusing on one of the kid’s postures, here are three easy things to remember:

  1. Reverse their posture
  2. Try the Exercises
  3. Call for a complimentary consultation

Text Neck is a Real Concern – Center for Physical Rehab Can Help

We are in the 21st century. There is no way to get away from utilizing technology as we progress as a society. I’m so thankful that Melody and CPR teamed up to help us stay knowledgeable and navigate through this topic to keep us MOVING FORWARD.

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By |2018-12-21T12:43:18+00:00August 13th, 2018|Categories: Center for Phy Rehab, Health, Physical Therapy Info, Real Life, Wellness for Families|0 Comments

About the Author:

Carla Brooks
Carla is an Oregon born, Michigan raised photographer, runner, mom of two awesome boys, and wife to poet Sareem Poems. Carla enjoys adventuring, playing the piano and singing, trying different foods, reading or watching a good story, and most of all spending time with her family.

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