Why are children so stressed out in 2020?
Article written by Dr. James Lee
Due to COVID-19 most schools were forced to close, and children had to be home schooled. This all happened very quickly. Most all families are still adapting to this new normal. The children had to adapt to learning virtually which means more time on their devises. More sitting in front of the computer. Less time outside with friends, running, playing and naturally stretching their bodies and minds. And now we are seeing the affects. There are many Doctors in many different fields, Medicine, Chiropractic and Psychology that are already seeing pediatric patient symptoms of this new trend of increased screen time. Most children understand how to use all of these devises from an early age. So, what are the short and long term effects of these devises on our children?
There is certainly a list of long-term health threats. Studies have shown that over 65% of all children have a smartphone and a screen time on all devises of more than 4 hours a day. This number will certainly increase now that they are being homeschooled due to the pandemic.
As a Doctor of Chiropractic in Austin Texas, my office has seen an increase in children with headaches, burning itchy eyes, fatigue, double vision, neck pain, back pain, irritability and even depression.
The quick cure to all these problems is to stop doing it. However, that is not always possible. Having your children take breaks to rest their eyes, back and neck will help significantly, while reducing their recreation use of smart devises.
My office has also seen an increase in sleeping problems for children.
Usually, in the past, a child would go to bed exhausted from all the running around and activity in a given day. Now, most children remain inside and glued to some screen for long periods of time. These electronic devices give off a blue high energy short-wavelength which when overexposed to, damages the eyes on several levels and affects sleeping.
Therefore, children should not have any screen time close to bedtime hours.
As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I pay close attention to the postures of people.
The position the child assumes while on these devices is also a very important factor. Their poor posture from the computer has a great effect on their spine and future growth. This “slouched” posture increases pressure on the spinal disks and nerves. So these children will be complaining of neck and back pain.
My Austin Texas Chiropractic office has seen this “Text-Neck” on many children and their x-ray findings. When they hold their devise too low the bones in their neck, the cervical spine, begin to lock up. Then the muscles become stressed and soon after the nerves, ligaments and discs become affected. This unnatural posture over long periods of time on a developing child’s spine will have long term affects. This is why as a parent, you must give your child frequent breaks from the screen and working posture. Develop a routine, every 30 minutes, for the child to get up and move around as well as proper ergonomics while at their work stations. Recommend and practice with your child some deep breathing exercises so their bodies and brains are remaining calm and in a more relaxed.
Look at your child while they are on the computer as see if their head is to foreword, if their shoulders are hunched, is their chin sticking out, are their legs crossed or are they sitting with uneven hips. Also pay attention especially if they begin to complain about wrist pain or any carpal tunnel symptoms.
My number one recommendation would be to bring your child into a Chiropractors office for exams and adjustments. By committing to regular Chiropractic care for your child at an early age, you set the stage for a healthier spine and nervous system. Chiropractors have been adjusting children for over a 100 year. The testimonials and the results are stunning. Children under Chiropractic care have less health issues such as irritability, headaches, asthma and bed wetting. Just like taking your child to a Dentist, to prevent problems, you want a Chiropractor to exam the health and status of your child’s spine.
The other big component about the screen time is the negative affect it has on our children’s mental health. These apps and videos are controlling where they spend their attention. Social media is the worse for a child’s sense of self-worth and identity.
Ergonomics for the kids at their computors.
The top of your child’s computer screen should be at their eye level or slightly below. They should sit up straight. Make sure that the child does not have to reach for the keyboard, that it is properly placed and their feet flat on the ground or raised slightly. Have them relax their shoulders and keep their elbow in close to their body, while wrists and forearms are parallel to the floor.
If your child is on the couch or anywhere else besides a desk, place some pillows under their elbows and keep the screen at eye level.
If they are on their cellphone, consider a hands-free devise to avoid placing the phone in between the head and ears.
Top 10 List of what to do to help your child’s overuse of screentime.
- Therefore, children should not have any screen time close to bedtime hours.
- Give your child frequent breaks from the screen and working posture. Develop a routine, every 30 minutes, for the child to get up and move around.
- Proper ergonomics with all these devices.
- If your child is on the couch or anywhere else besides a desk, place some pillows under their elbows and keep the screen at eye level.
- If they are on their cellphone, consider a hands-free devise to avoid placing the phone in between the head and ears.
- The top of your child’s computer screen should be at their eye level or slightly below
- Pay attention especially if they begin to complain about wrist pain or any carpal tunnel symptoms.