Electronic devices: the back-breaking facts-by Physiotherapist Carolyn Cassano

Electronic devices: the back-breaking facts-by Physiotherapist Carolyn Cassano

Gone are the days when kids spend their free time playing hopscotch and catch or kicking a ball in the garden. The new generation of youngsters have become increasingly reliant on smartphones, tablets and computers for a lot of their entertainment. The fact that kids are spending prolonged periods of time hunched over their electronic devices means that they are developing a forward head posture, which health professionals are referring to as ‘iposture syndrome’. If the head shifts in front of the shoulders, as is happening with this posture, the weight of the head increases, and the muscles of the upper back and neck need to work much harder to support it, leading to pain and muscle strain . This is a relatively new complaint and as a result young kids are presenting with physical injuries usually seen in adults. Kids as young as 5 are developing chronic neck and back pain and early signs of spine curvature from hunching over their gadgets. Osteopathy Australia‘s Dr Nahla Khraim has been in practice for 23 years and is seeing more and more parents bring in children for treatment. “Over the past five years children as young as three and four are coming to clinics with postural problems or back pain. It used to be when they were teenagers,” she says. “It’s difficult not to make a connection between smartphone development and the younger age of kids coming in with postural problems.” In children, the musculoskeletal system is still developing, and so pain related to computer usage can have serious consequences. Many kids sit in awkward positions whist using their gadgets, such...
Family Online Safety Institute – a word from David Miles

Family Online Safety Institute – a word from David Miles

There is no doubt, that the Internet has had a profound impact over the last decade or so. We are entering an era where the pace of technological innovation once confined to the work place is now a feature of our daily lives. Parents in particular, are keen to ensure that children benefit from the exciting devices and content now part of most homes. Schools too, increasingly benefit from the use of technology as part of their students curriculum. And yet, with opportunities come risks. The very technology that connects us, can also make us vulnerable to those that would want to do harm. This leads to anxiety and is accentuated by stories in the news that infuse the public conversation with negative notions that are largely unsupported by research or the positive experiences of most children and young people. The generational divide is further compounded by rapid technological change. The trouble is that although as adults we instinctively, know how to protect children offline, we often assume that their greater technological expertise will ensure they can look after themselves online. But knowledge is not the same as wisdom. That’s why the Family Online Safety Institute is a proponent of good digital citizenship. In this, parents and educators play a vitally important leadership role. Ensuring that offline responsibilities and values are transferred online. Seeking both at home and school to equip children with the critical skills to make wise choices online. For more information on the Family Online Safety Institute go to www.fosi.org  To see how FOSI fosters a dialogue about what it means to participate responsibly in a digital world...