BCA chiropractor, Rishi Loatey, says: “We are seeing more and more people under the age of sixteen with back and neck pain and technology is so often the cause. Young people are becoming increasingly sedentary which is damaging their posture. There is the tendency to sit in a hunched position when working on computers and laptops, putting a lot of strain on the neck.”
Research from the BCA in 2014 revealed that almost three quarters (68%) of 11 to 16 year olds spend between one and four hours a day on a laptop, tablet or computer. More than a third (38%) of parents said their child spends between one and six hours a day on their mobile phone.
The BCA has a number of tips for young people to avoid sustaining back and neck injuries from using technology:
- Try out new gadgets before you buy them to make sure they’re comfortable to use and spend time setting them up in a way that works well for you.
- Don’t carry so many items in your bag all the time. Only pack what you need each day and avoid ‘doubling up’ on your tech i.e. camera and smartphone if at all possible.
- The head is a heavy weight and sitting with it forward of your body puts unnecessary strain on your neck and back so always sit with your head directly over your body. Avoid surfing and texting whilst walking as your lack of concentration is likely to cause some kind of problem!
- If using your mobile, smartphone, laptop or tablet whilst sitting down, take the time to break position on a regular basis and stretch your arms, shrug your shoulders and move your fingers around as this helps to keep the muscles more relaxed.
- When sitting in front of your PC or laptop, sit in chairs that provide full support for your spine and make sure your shoulders, hips and knees face the same direction.