Quick: what’s the first thing you catch yourself doing as soon as you wake up?
Do you get a glass of water, go to the bathroom, or something else? If you’re like most people—around the world and in Australia—chances are, the first thing you do as soon as you get up (or even while still lying down) is roll over and pick up your phone.
Whether it’s to check your emails, social media, or the daily news, at the end of the day it all boils down to you staring at your phone for a much longer time than necessary. Face it: you probably have digital addiction, or Internet addiction disorder. The digital addiction phenomena is quite new and largely unstudied, with studies suggesting anywhere from 8.2% to 38% of the general population suffering this addiction.
And in Australia, we have a digital addiction unlike any other.
Our Digital Addiction
A study conducted by a Melbourne software company in 2017 found that Australian men “unlock their phones more than anyone in the world, on average 45 to 46 times a day.” For women, this number is slightly smaller, at just 42 times a day.
But what exactly are we doing with our phones? The same study found that Australian adults are spending an average of two hours a day using their phones for Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, web browsers, and Facebook. If you added up all the extra time we spend making calls, checking our emails, video streaming and listening to music, this time can go up to nearly 8 hours a day in some cases of staring at our phones.
The worst part? This isn’t just about our back pain, because we’re not the ones suffering the most: it’s our kids.
The Dangers of Screen Time for Kids
In 2010, Steve Jobs said in an interview that he limits the amount of technology his kids are allowed to use at home—his kids didn’t have cellphones until they were 14, and he regularly monitored how often they played video games (kids these days receive their first phone on average at the age of 10).
Tech giants all over Silicon Valley are completely aware of the dangers of letting kids run wild with technology, but are we? The Australian Institute of Family Studies reported in 2016 that children as young as four already spend an average of 2-3 hours a day staring at screens, with this number rising to 3-4 hours for pre-teens. This is well above the recommended maximum screen time by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which set it at just an hour a day for kids under five.
Curved Spines and Hunchbacks
So what does all this screen time cause? Other than reduced attention span, chiropractors around the world are finding that kids as young as seven are already suffering issues of curved spines and hunchbacks because of the bad posture during phone and tablet usage.
Some chiropractors refer to it as “text neck”, in which a child can be seen to have a backwards curve in the spine around their shoulders rather than a normal forward curve, causing back pain, as well as pain in the head, shoulder, and neck.
This can also lead to headaches, migraines, anxiety, depression, and other serious and long-term consequences.
How To Prevent the Worst Back Pain
The easiest way to prevent this outcome in you and your children is to limit your daily screen time. Other ways to prevent “text neck” and other issues that can lead to long-term back pain include:
- For your children, there are a variety of apps that can limit and monitor the amount of time they spend on their tablet and phone.
- Educate your children on the consequences of bad posture and screen abuse, and reward them for listening
- Install apps that remind you to straighten your posture throughout the day
- Leave your phone at home whenever you can; you don’t always need to have the Internet by your side
- Regularly visit a professional to give you and your family help, tips, and if necessary, treatment, to fix lingering issues before they become bigger problems
Looking for a Professional? Check Out First Choice Chiropractic
At First Choice Chiropractic, we offer the highest quality professional chiropractic treatment and services for all our patients. We understand the problems facing both kids and adults today, and we work towards helping our patients erase any back pain they might have or might still be developing through spinal realignment, preventative treatment, and more. We also offer a number of treatment plans that include lifestyle changes to help you better take care of your body.
Call or message us today, and make your booking now! Begin your path to a better back today.