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Screen Technology Impacting Kids’ Health

Claudia Haines-Cappeau, Staff Reporter

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The health of Australian children is being adversely affected by digital screen technology, according to physiotherapist Trish Wisbey-Roth.

Children are having trouble with their neck, shoulders, ribs and spine due to the continuous use of devices such as iPad’s and laptops.

Ms Wisbey-Roth told ECU Daily, ‘It’s not possible to get yourself into a good ergonomic position using technology such as iPads.’

‘‘When children are using these devices, they generally sit them on their lap and then what becomes their normal posture, becomes a more extreme flex, weakening what we call our anti-gravity muscles,’’ she said.

The problem with this is that children weren’t building up the strength from a young age, so it continues to negatively affect them, as they get older.

‘‘I spend a lot of time trying to adjust how kids use their technology and do their homework, because if we don’t break that pattern down in primary school it becomes really difficult when they hit year 11 and 12,’’ said Ms Wisbey-Roth.

‘‘They don’t have good strength or ability to sit up straight and they are sitting studying for most of the day using laptops. It can become a real issue for them.’’

Assistant principal and mother of three Tiffany Johnson told ECU Daily that the use of technology didn’t only affect children physically, but it can also affect them socially.

‘‘They are losing certain skills, like the ability to verbally problem solve without having to text on a phone or online forum, or have the answers immediately from an online source. This can affect their ability when reasoning with friends and family,’’ said Ms Johnson.

Boys in particular are captivated by technology within the gaming world.

‘‘They especially focus a lot of their time and effort into their conversations talking about gaming, meaning they don’t talk about other issues with one another,’’ said Ms Johnson.

‘‘On the other hand, at least it starts conversation, especially in students who don’t enjoy activities like sports, so it can make them feel part of a group.’’

Ms Johnson also believes that technology could make life with children a lot easier when it comes to busy times around the household.

“I think parenting is difficult, we have such busy lives and there are always time constraints,” she said.

“Having children help prepare the food with you is one option, but that requires patience and time, and if the children are very little there are safety restrictions.”

‘‘It can certainly make a parent’s life easier, but at what cost?

“We won’t see the full ramifications that technology has on young brains until this generation are adults,’’ Ms Johnson added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Screen Technology Impacting Kids’ Health