Finding Balance with Screen Time
Sep 09, 2019
I’m often working with moms...helping them overcome physical breakdowns that I believe often relate back to lacking resources for postpartum recovery.
As moms become aware in their own bodies, I’m hearing from more and more of them about concerns they have for their kids. I can relate!!! The pressures on kids are tremendous. School and homework require extended periods of seated time and most of the work starting in junior high is done on some kind of device. Additionally, by the time kids are adolescents, they socialize and are also entertained through digital devices. Even active kids and athletes are impacted by this. They might be moving more than others but there’s often early sports specialization that requires repetitive motion training at high intensities...and in between these sessions they’re likely sitting on devices. Kids aged 5-16 spend an average of 6.5 hours a day on a screen!!!!
Think about what your posture looks like when you’re on your phone or computer. Kids are doing the same...spending hours in a rounded spine, forward head, likely seated position. Then they’re taking this slumped posture into sports and training. It’s contributing to young people having back pain, sciatica and shoulder issues. Take note of how and where your kids are using their devices. Consider a standing station for your home computer. Educate and set an example by holding your phone up to head height while reading or texting. Give them reminders and explain why.
Here’s a young client I just started working with. She’s a diligent student and high school tennis player who has sciatica and shoulder pain. Check out the picture on the left when I asked her to show me her serve receive position. Look at her neck and low back. If you rotate it sideways does it look like the position she’s in ALL day while on her screen? The muscles on the back of her body are not being asked to activate and help support her.
In the second photo we started teaching her how to use the muscles along her spine, outer hips and legs to better support her. She was shocked at how much stronger and “better” she looked in the second picture.
As a parent this is one simple thing you can watch for. If you use stools in your house (which I encourage so there isn’t a backrest to fall back on), look for a long active spine like in picture #2 and remind them to sit up tall if you see them slouching for extended periods.
Screen time is something I’m constantly struggling with in our own house. We have fairly strict screen time guidelines but now that there's an official teenager in the house it’s getting more and more challenging, especially when most of their school work is also involved. I try really hard to find harmony and, more importantly provide education on why I feel so strongly about this topic. The truth is, technology has been, and will undoubtedly continue to be, a major part of these kids’ lives. Rather than just fight back, I think we need to teach them how to use it in a way that doesn’t break them down...physically, mentally or emotionally!
Have any screen time or posture tips that you use around the house with your kiddos? Please share on Facebook or Instagram @goulagals.