Children as young as six are suffering from iPosture (not a new product from a certain famous brand!!) - chronic neck pain, headaches, poor posture and repetitive strain injuries in the wrist and hands from using mobile devices. At Woodside Clinic, we are definitely seeing an increase in children and young adults coming to see the physiotherapists and osteopaths with these injuries.
When your child hunches over, they keep their head high and flex their neck, holding that position for some time. This increases pressure on the joints, causing pain in both the neck and shoulders. Nowadays, so much of childhood and teenage life is bound up with mobile technology that it is hard to imagine wrestling these devices away from them.
Here are some tips to help your kids avoid poor posture and back pain:
Show children and young adults how to sit comfortably and with good posture, with two feet on the floor and back supported
Place a beanbag or pillow on the child's lap, so he or she can rest their arms on the beanbag and support their tablet or portable gaming device in a comfortable position, enabling them to see the device and use it without hunching forward
Encourage your children to move and change their posture every hour. Ideally, they should get up and even walk around occasionally.
Check on your children every half hour to make sure they are sitting comfortably and well.
Schedule screen-free exercise times, encouraging games and active play so that core strength muscles are used and strengthened
Use a separate keyboard when typing on the tablet, with the screen propped up so it can be seen without craning your neck.
Put laptops at a level where a child can sit with their arms resting on the desk when using the keyboard at elbow level. The top of the screen should be level with the eyebrows and the chair tilted slightly forward, so that the knees are lower than the hips. Feet should be flat on the ground.