Tag: children and gadgets

Gadgets use among children is leading to a new health condition

“Gameboy back” is becoming increasingly common among kids as they slouch over their devices.

Spine researchers have now said that the over use of gadgets among children and teens should be carefully watched, as poor posture can lead to bad posture, which will produce back pain later on in life

One of the researchers is recommending that bad posture be caught early and corrected to save kids from this fate.

The term “Gameboy back” has now been coined by two orthopedic surgeons from the Netherlands. This term is now being used to describe patients between the ages of 8 and 18 years, who are slumping over their gadgets for such lengths of time that it is causing their spines to curve.

Until the overuse of these gadgets came along, it was rare for children in this age group to need a spine surgeon.

According to University of Toronto professor of neurological and orthopedic surgery, Mark Erwin, “For a young child up to 18 years old to have to see a spine surgeon is abnormal.” When children are hunched over their gadgets for a length of time on a regular basis, the spine begins to form a “C” shape that places an abnormal load on the spinal disks. This can build up and worsen over time. Erwin noted that doctors in Canada are treating patients for serious back problems at earlier ages, for issues that are typically seen notably later in life.

Erwin – who studies degenerative disc disease – explained that “This is a real thing” and that “It seems to be so benign, kids playing video [games]. But it’s not benign.”

The normal shape of a spine is closer to an “S”. However, sitting for long periods, hunched over gadgets can round the spine into a “C” shape over days and weeks. This adds strain to the muscles, disks, and ligaments. Some of the muscles start to weaken, others become too loose. Over time, this problem can compound itself.

Researchers are hoping that heavy users of gadgets – and their parents – will recognize this issue early and will take action to correct it before permanent damage occurs.

Gadgets use by children increases by 89 percent

Research has shown that kids are using mobile devices far more than they were two years ago.

A recent report from Common Sense Media, entitled “Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America” has revealed that mobile gadgets are being used by kids at a much greater rate than they had been only two years ago.

The child advocacy group’s 2013 report has shown that small screen popularity is exploding in young age groups.

This research comes just at a time in which doctors are cautioning that too much time in front of digital screens might be quite unhealthy for kids. The biannual survey of American parents that was conducted by Common Sense Media showed that there has been an increase by 89 percent in the number of children between the ages of zero and eight years who have used mobile gadgets. This is a massive increase when compared to the 2011 data, when only 38 percent of kids in that age group were using those devices considering that 72 percent have done so, this year.

Even among children younger than two years, 38 percent have used mobile gadgets for media in 2013.

Gadgets - parents and childrenIn 2011, that figure had been only 10 percent. Furthermore, the amount of time that children are spending using those gadgets has tripled. It had been 5 minutes per day in 2011, but it has risen to 15 minutes, this year.

This report came at nearly the exact same time that the American Academy of Pediatrics underscored its previous cautions regarding the exposure of children to screens, including mobile gadgets and televisions. That organization advised parents to limit the “total entertainment screen time to less than one to two hours per day” and for children younger than two years, they should “discourage screen media exposure.”

The founder of Common Sense Media, Jim Steyer, has said that these gadgets are – to a growing degree – replacing everything from televisions to storybooks and even babysitters. Tablets have especially changed the way that devices play a role within families, as there has been a five-fold increase in the number of families who own them and of children who have access to them.