Tech neck refers to the constant neck pain that can result from looking down at a phone, tablet, or other screen. While tech neck is not an official medical diagnosis, tech neck is a very real problem. Especially in children, preventing tech neck is important for ongoing health and wellness.
How do you know if you have tech neck?
Tech neck can cause rounded shoulders, reduced mobility, pain in the neck, back, and upper shoulders, and headaches. As children are growing and developing, maintaining good posture is important for back strength and development. Consistently craning the neck downward can create bad habits and lead to injury and back problems later in life.
Hold your phones differently
Some simple changes in technology use can help to prevent tech neck. Holding screens at eye level will help prevent overstraining and neck pain. For computer use, this may mean setting a monitor higher up. When using tablets having a stand to place tablets on instead of holding devices in one’s lap provides for much better posture.
Set timers on technology
In children especially, setting boundaries on technology is important. Just like with other leisure activities, screen time should have time limits. Make sure that children are stretching and moving around at least every hour. In fact, some experts recommend limiting children’s interaction with technology to an hour or less at a time.
Too much technology can be bad for children’s physical health and posture. A high amount of screen time has also been linked to a decreased ability to focus and lowered memory abilities. Setting timers on technology is beneficial for both children’s physical and mental development.
Proactively prevent tech neck
Over time, straining the neck forward can lead to muscular imbalances. To prevent tech neck imbalances, focus on strengthening the upper back, chest, and shoulders. In children, adequate exercise is key. If children are interested, participating in organized sports can be a good way to stay active. Encourage children to ride bikes, play outside, or even hula hoop. Sometimes children find more motivating when outdoor activity is a family event. Go to the park or playground together or spend a weekend afternoon hiking. Fresh air, exercise, and less screen time are all key to optimal health and wellness.