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Should you limit your kids screen time?

Should you limit your kids screen time?


As portable technology spells the end for the desktop computer, we grow more and more accustomed to watching our children do their homework hunched over an iPad or balancing a laptop on their knees.

It is a troubling development says The Physio Clinic’s Ben Corso, who treats many teenagers for back and neck pain exacerbated by the prolonged use of portable devices. 

“Bad sitting for any length of time can adversely affect the posture of our kids, particularly during the early teen growth spurt periods when their bones are growing faster than their muscles,” the Adelaide physiologist says.

“These days, children are sitting in worse positions and for a lot longer than they used to,” he says.

But it’s not just their necks and backs that are at risk. Over use of digital devices such as computers, laptops, tablets and phones can cause Digital Eye Strain (DES) on top of the neck and back strain, with after working on devices for prolonged periods of time.

DES symptoms include discomfort, heaviness, blurred vision and headaches, and unfortunately the number of people being diagnosed with DES is on the rise.

Tips from Health Partners Optometrist Cliff Kam to protect their eyes:   Tips from The Physio Clinic's Ben Corso to help their posture:
  • Review your child’s workstation and ensure screens are at least one arm length to fingertips away and position iPads, tablets and mobile phones, no closer than elbow distance.
 
  • Make sure your child is sitting in a supportive chair and teach them to sit up straight, have their shoulders back and feet flat on the floor.
  • Reduce screen time by having them take regular breaks. It’s also beneficial to have them switch off their digital devices at least one hour before bed.
 
  • If using a laptop or desktop computer ensure your child’s desk, chair and device are appropriately sized and aligned.
  • Blue lens coatings can help reduce the harshness and glare of screen lighting, so it’s softer and easier on your eyes. Health Partners can also recommend the best lens design that suits your specific workspace set up, needs and tasks.
 
  • If your child is experiencing or complaining of pain due to these potential reasons, it is best to have them checked before symptoms develop ongoing
  • Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 metres away for 20 seconds and blink 20 times. This ensures the eyes are given a well-deserved break.
 
  • Encourage your child to spend shorter periods of time gaming or changing positions regularly – such as having rest/stretch breaks or walking around the house every 20-30 minutes.

 

Seek help from a professional if your child complains of regular headaches or spinal pain.  

 
 

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Like to know more?

Call Health Partners on 1300 113 113
or 1800 182 322 if you are outside the Adelaide metropolitan area or interstate.