Can Too Much Screen Time Affect Your Kids’ Posture?

by Screen Time Team on 24/01/2018
Screen Time

When children use mobile devices, they often gravitate toward positions that are bad for their backs.

What are Mobile Devices Doing to Your Child’s Back?

When your child tilts their head forward because they’re bent over a phone or tablet, the angle of the head puts additional strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck. They also tend to round their shoulders forward, which creates additional wear on the back and the upper part of the spine.

When children spend an extended amount of time in these positions, they can start to experience pain. Researchers have noted that doctors are seeing an increase in children coming in for treatments for back and neck pain, and that increase seems to correlate with the increase in mobile device use. What’s more, poor posture tends to breed more poor posture. In other words, if your child is slouching or hunching over a device, they may also be doing it when they’re sitting in class or at the dinner table. Poor posture can quickly become a habit.

What Are The Long-Term Effects?

When children develop a bad posture habit, the effects can be long-lasting. Back and neck pain is only one aspect of the problem. Poor posture can also cause the spinal cord to change shape, which can create chronic pain and affect balance.

Poor posture also has an effect on the rest of the body. Sitting for extended periods of time with poor posture compresses the digestive organs, which has a negative effect on the digestive system. Bad posture is also associated with varicose veins and an elevated risk of heart disease.

What Can You Do?

Screen Time

Screen Time can help to limit the risk of posture problems

Making some changes to the way your child uses their mobile devices can help decrease their risk of developing poor posture and the problems that go along with it. Avoid allowing your child to use their tablet or phone on the bed or while laying on the couch. Instead, have them sit up straight. Invest in a holder for the device that allows your child to use it without hunching over. Be a good example and model the behaviors you want to see in your children.

Teach your kids to stop and stretch their arms above their heads regularly. This can help them reset their posture. Encourage your child to take frequent exercise breaks away from the digital devices as well. Breaking up the amount of time your child spends on their device will help prevent extended periods of slouching or hunching. Parental control apps can be ideal for this.

Parental control apps can help by allowing you to schedule alerts and time limits to remind your child to stretch or take a break from their device. To find out how parental control software can work for your family, try it for free.

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Should You Limit Screen Time When Kids Are Sick?

by Screen Time Team on 10/01/2018

Keeping Sanity

Nobody should dub you a bad parent because you didn’t limit screen time as much as normal. You can’t read Chicken Soup With Rice to your kids for five hours straight. You’ve probably got no end of things to do, both to treat your kids’ illness and to do around the house. You can’t help your kids if you’re going bonkers.

So, at points where you’re out of options, or just simply they don’t have the energy to do anything else, it’s OK to resort to a little screen time and give them the tablet and let them know you’ll just be in the next room. Sometimes they don’t have the energy, or you simply need them out of the way while cooking dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, or dealing with other household concerns. That’s not at issue. It’s simply a question of setting the right standards and enforcing certain rules.

The Rules Are Relaxed, Not Gone

Start by pointing out this is a special occasion, and this isn’t going to be the new normal. Then make it clear that you’re still going to limit screen time, no matter how sick they are. Especially if you’ve got the time to do other activities, you should still limit screen time, sit with them and pick out some activities.

This can be pretty much anything. You can read to them, or do simple crafting projects that occupy their time and take their minds off being sick. And, of course, if they begin drifting off or don’t have the energy to do anything else, you can put them to bed.

And there are some rules that simply aren’t negotiable. Bedtime is a good example, and it’ll probably be shifted earlier simply because getting enough sleep is the best sick fighter. Similarly, if you have rules about how long TV can be watched or video games can be played, those should still be in place. They should switch off from screens on a regular basis anyway if only to give themselves a break. Even with sick kids, the benefits of time limits on device use still apply.

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Similarly, if the new rules are broken, some punishments should still apply. Especially if kids are sick, they need to abide by rules about rest, they need to take their medicine no matter how nasty it tastes, and generally need to behave properly, within reason. There are some rules in the home that stand no matter how sick you get.

Nobody enjoys being sick, and it can be a challenge with an adult, let alone a child. But, with properly enforced screen time parental controls, relaxing rules where you need to, and working together, you and your children can get through any sick day. To see how Screen Time can help settle bedtime and homework issues, sick or not, try it for free!

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How to get your kids to venture outdoors and leave their device at home

by Screen Time Team on 22/12/2016

With so many devices in the average home now, it’s easier than ever to lose our kids when they’re sat right in front of us.

As most of our subscribers will tell you, our Screen Time app makes the process of separating child from device, easier. But once that bubble is popped and it’s freezing outside, it’s not always just the kids who need convincing that leaving the house is a good idea. We live in the UK – we hear you!
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But hear this.

Apart from the fact that meltdowns are less likely once fresh air hits your offspring, there are a whole bunch of health benefits, both mental and physical, to be gained too.

Brave the cold and you lower their risk of obesity, cancer, nearsightedness and depression and increase their attention spans, social skills, their chance of getting strong bones and higher grades at school.   

All pretty good reasons, we think. But how long do we pause our kids devices for, for the purposes of outdoor family frolicking? Guidelines say we should aim for at least an hour a day.

Or simply refer to the child’s built-in ‘Fresh Air’ guage that sits either side of the nose behind the cheeks. When sufficiently exercised, the cheeks will become rosy. And what’s nicer than seeing your children with happy, rosy cheeked faces?*

If you need some inspiration, here’s a handy list of things you can do in the outside world during the holidays. We’d love to hear other ideas. Feel free to share them with us as well as any photos you have of you and your family out embracing the cold this Christmas. Just use #rosycheekchallenge on Instagram or Facebook or tell us about them in the comments below 🙂

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Wheel them Out

Is anyone getting new wheels this Christmas? Weather permitting, go and discover bike tracks and/or skate parks near you. Or if your local area is lacking such a place, check out https://tonyhawkfoundation.org for guidance on how one could be built near you (but not before your family outdoor time!)

Use the dog as an excuse

Make walking the dog into something more adventurous. Go that bit further than normal. Get her a new ball to play with that you can throw and encourage the kids to reach it first.

Get with the Hugge programme

Loving the latest craze for Hugge style coziness? Then get some hot chocolate in a thermos flask, wrap everyone up and venture out on a nature trail (a couple of spiders under a magnifying glass should do it). The best part is, your house is never cosier than when back from a chilly stroll. If you want to go the distance with the Hugge theme, get a fire going (carefully does it) and toast some marshmallows too.

Look no further than your backyard

If venturing out too far is an issue, simply head out into the backyard and eat a picnic, kick a ball, play catch, shoot some hoops. Maybe you could add some bonus time to their device for every point scored.

Christmas Treasure Hunt

Why should the Easter bunny have all the fun? Get creative and put together a festive outdoor treasure hunt for the kids.  Chocolate coins make for decent treasure. Or maybe some bonus time on their device in the form of a golden ticket 😉

*Please be aware that children do NOT in fact have ‘Fresh Air’ gauges behind their cheeks. We made that up. This information is a silly attempt at humor made by Screen Time Labs. We promise we will do it again 🙂

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