By Jeff Sheppard 10 Sep 2019 no comment 1198 Views

Many children ask for cell phones for birthday or Christmas gifts.  Other times, parents want their children to have phones for reasons of safety.  A child with a phone can message their parents if plans change.  They will also be able to call 911 in case of an emergency.

Phones are useful tools.  But they carry the potential for trouble when they are misused and abused.

The stresses of the modern world are compounded by the feeling that we have to be “on” all the time.

Grown-ups need to fight the urge to answer work emails during vacation.  You might be surprised to find out that children can feel similar stresses from friends who expect them to be available 24-7.  These demands are not reasonable, and children need to learn early how to set healthy boundaries.

Set reasonable limits for kids and cell phones, just as you would for video games and TV.

Bedtime is not a good time for phones.  The bright light from the screen throws off sleep patterns and the buzz of alerts can wake kids up in the night.  Set phones to charging outside of the bedroom about an hour before bedtime.  This advice goes for adults, as well.

Situational awareness is important for people of all ages, particularly kids.  Kids need to pay attention to where they are going.  They should be alert for dangers such as vehicles, obstacles, and holes.  Phones belong in pockets or backpacks while kids are walking to and from school, running around playing, or otherwise being active.

Family time is another time to put phones away.  This is a good lesson for everyone – when we spend time with others, we should give them our full attention.  Our “digital lives” should not interfere with our ability to socialize and bond in our “physical lives.”

Just as most workplaces don’t allow employees to play on their phones during work hours, so too are phones inappropriate during homework time and in class.

Three kinds of play that children need

Excessive use of cell phones can discourage imaginative play, co-operative play, and physical activity.  Encourage your child to enjoy all three.

Firstly, imaginative play lets your children expand their thinking skills.  Imaginative play is play where children themselves invent the game.  It’s important to put away the “screens” so children can stretch their imaginations by making up whole new worlds of their own.

Secondly, co-operative play teaches your children to get along with other people.

Physical activity is necessary for good health.  Some children will benefit from organized sports or classes, like soccer, gymnastics or dance classes.  Others may prefer more “free-form” activities where they can swim, skate, hike or bike where they want to.  The important part is that children learn that it is fun to move their bodies.  If they enjoy being active, they will set habits that will keep them healthy throughout their lives.

In conclusion, there are more kinds of play than just digital games, and children should enjoy them all–for their own health.

“Text neck”

We posted an earlier blog about “text neck.”  This condition develops when muscles and joints are strained by spending too much time looking down at a screen.

If your child is complaining of a sore neck, it might not just be “growing pains.” They might have injured themselves from months or years of cumulative strain.  Fortunately, chiropractic care is for people of all ages, including children.

If your child hasn’t been to see us for a maintenance visit lately, call Sheppard Chiropractic and Laser Healing at (506) 635-8182 or (506) 847-7172 to schedule their next appointment.

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