College of DuPage Nursing Student Bennett Rubenacker shared with Healthy Lombard that with many children still spending some or all of their time learning at home, the use of the internet and technology for schooling has become essential. The time that would normally be spent in the classroom sitting behind a desk is now relegated to video calls on computers, tablets, and phones. Naturally, the extended time on screens should raise concern for parents, even if it is for their children’s benefit. Having access to the internet during school can lead children to wander away from their lessons, and can even lead to addiction (Petersen, 2020). But on a physical level, how is an extended time in front of screens affecting children in the age of e-learning?
A number of studies have found that periods of smartphone use longer than two hours per day lead to an increase in pain in the lower back and shoulders for children (Domoff et. al, 2019). Additionally, children who utilized tablets exhibited excessive muscle use and torso and shoulder asymmetry (Domoff et. al, 2019). Looking down at a screen leads to poor posture, often causing a “forward-thrusting” of the head that increases strain in the muscle and ligaments of the neck (“Technology may be,” 2020). According to Dr. Georgia Lowe (2018), the spines of children are not strong enough to manage the prolonged stress of poor posture that can occur when using screens. Eventually, the increased weight on one part of the spine can cause permanent changes in response to poor posture. This leads to other health risks, including postural kyphosis (hunched back), poor balance, fatigue, body pains, and decreased self-esteem (“Technology may be,” 2020). So, what can be done? Read more