Cell phones, once considered a luxury item, are now a mainstay of modern life. Most parents see them as a crucial part of keeping kids safe as they can contact or be contacted day or night. While this solves some problems, it raises others.
For today's teen, using their phone to send text messages is a way of life. Because text messages are seen as less intrusive than phone calls, many teens would rather text than talk. They rely on it as instant communication when talking is taboo and email too slow. In short texting is very popular.
Consider these recently posted facts by Christina Warren on the Mashable Blog,
"75% of teens have cellphones, up from 45% back in 2004.
Thirty-three percent of teens send more than 100 texts per day.
Teenage boys send an average of 30 text messages per day and girls send an average of 80."
Because so many teens are texting, it is becoming common for them to experience joint problems at young ages. Warn your child about the dangers of continuous texting. Let them know that if they have pain or swelling in their joints, it is serious. In addition to obvious problems with hands and wrists, Chiropractors are noticing serious spinal changes as well. The forward head position that most people assume as they use electronic devices puts considerable pressure on their spine and over time can change the curvature of their neck. Did you know that each inch of forward head posture can increase the weight of your head on your spine by an additional 10 pounds? That means if your teen looks down as he texts, it adds 20 to 30 pounds of pressure on his neck. Over time, this added pressure can flatten or reverse the normal C curve in his neck leading to decreased immune function, neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain or numbness and tingling in his arms. Even worse, this deformity in the spine pulls the rest of the spine out of alignment affecting every system in the body. Clearly we need to warn our teens about what they are doing to themselves.
No one expects teens to give up their phones but parents should ask them to think about how much they are using them and consider cutting back. They should also think about their posture and how it might be affecting them over time. Our world has changed and we have to learn how to be safe as we adapt to it.