Let’s face it, tablets and cellphones have become a necessity in school, work + life. However, it’s still important to limit the amount of screen time for young children, teens, even us adults! Research has shown some potential negative effects of screen time on brain development, such as premature thinning of the cerebral cortex and reduced scores on language and thinking tests.
The Effects of Too Much Screen Time
Too much screen time has been linked to obesity, irregular sleep, behavioral issues, loss of social skills, impaired academic performance and violence.
It can also place a significant amount of stress on your neck, spine, mid/lower back joints/tissues that could contribute to chronic neck + back pain.
A more important and less discussed issue that can result from excessive screen time is the drain of energy + emotional levels. The habit of constantly checking emails, communicating via social media or text, spending hours gaming or watching movies can affect time management and also be isolating, which can affect physical, mental + social health.
Tips on Limiting Screen Time
You can set reasonable limits on the amount your family spends on the screen. Consider these tips:
- Prioritize unplugged, unstructured playtime.
- Create tech-free zones or times, such as during mealtime or one night a week.
- Discourage use of media entertainment during homework.
- Set and enforce daily or weekly screen time limits and curfews, such as no exposure to devices or screens 1-2 hours before bedtime.
- Consider using apps that control the length of time a child can use a device.
- Require your children to charge their devices outside of their bedrooms at night.
- Keep screens out of your child’s bedroom.
- Limit your own screen time.
- Eliminate background TV.
Ways to Help with Prolonged Screen Time
Sometimes, it’s not as simple as putting the phone, tablet or computer away. They are required everyday at school and work. We still recommend stepping away and taking a break each hour. Need help with ergonomics? Here’s a few tips to focus on:
- position your screen so your head is in a neutral position with eyes looking straight ahead toward the top of the screen
- focus on keeping neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles relaxed
- roll your shoulders back + down to help open the chest to prevent shoulders from rounding forward
- adjust the height of your chair so that feet are flat on the floor and knees are equal to or slightly lower than hips
It is difficult to avoid electronics entirely but it’s all about balance in all aspects of physical, mental + social health. We offer complimentary consultations if you’re experiencing symptoms with prolonged screen time. Call our office with any questions or to schedule an appointment.