If your child spends a significant amount of time texting, gaming, or playing on the computer, it could take a toll on their neck. Here are some tips to avoid text neck, pain, and sore muscles this school year from Barbara Minkowitz MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Atlantic Medical Group Pediatric Orthopedics.
"Text neck" is a term coined to describe the head position used by people engaged in texting or using a computer or video game. It involves the neck being flexed while you’re looking down.
Text neck is more prevalent in children now than it was in the past, and it can be behind complaints of headache and back, neck and shoulder pain. It’s difficult to predict what the future effects will be on children’s’ skeletal growth, so they should be encouraged out of this head position whenever possible.
What can parents do?
- Teach your child to keep her head in a neutral position when using her cell phone or other devices. While kids usually keep their phones down in their laps, the phone should be held higher so it’s aligned with the eyes. This way, neck muscles are not strained.
- Consider investing in an ergonomic chair designed for video game use that controls spine alignment.
- Encourage your child to take frequent breaks. Have him pause to stretch his neck after more than 15 minutes of looking down at a screen.
- And, if it’s really problematic, set limits on the amount of screen time your child is allowed.