Lost in Digital Space

I was watching a play at the NSB Little Theatre recently, when I noticed something odd about a couple of the younger actors. As they walked across the stage, some had a slight hump at the base of their neck and horrible posture.

The more I researched about the health issues connected to a cell phone or electrical devices such as a computer, I found that our screens are hurting us. It’s called “text neck” and it’s a real thing! Even small children playing with hand-held electronic games are at risk. It’s the result of a forward-leaning posture usually associated with working/playing on computers and using hand-held devices.

For example, if you hold your cell at a 30-degree angle, your head could put a 40-pound pressure on your spine. At a 60-degree angle it’s 60 pounds of neck and spine strain. You can keep your cell phone and other electronics at eye level to release head weight.

We are lost in a digital space and could all use some guidance. The negatives of a child, or adult, using their cell phones too often is too much to ignore.

Other side effects can include:

Prolonged use of handheld devices can lead to digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome. The American Optometric Association reports that symptoms include dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and discomfort.

The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. The National Sleep Foundation warns that excessive screen time, especially before bedtime, can lead to difficulty falling asleep and disrupted sleep patterns.

A study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that excessive screen time, particularly in young children, is associated with reduced attention span and poorer cognitive development.

There’s also increased illnesses due to germs. I read one in six cell phones has fecal matter on it. Gross!

What can we do to help our children and teens? Set some guidelines and house rules and stick to them. Children under 12 should spend no more than an hour a day and teens and adults no more than two. Explain why, so they are more apt to understand. Set an alarm to time the amount spent on their phones. If you must be on longer for work or a project, then pace yourself. Every 30 minutes, get up and stretch. Get some fresh air and exercise.

Give your family basic cell phone rules. They may fight you now, but they’ll thank you later.

Karin Jenkins is a Licensed Esthetician, Makeup Artist, and the author of the book, “Pageant Land and the Family Who Lived There.” She has been involved in all aspects of the beauty industry and in show business for over 30 years. Karin is the mother of two and the grandmother of four. She and her husband David co-own the local family business - Applause Salon in New Smyrna Beach. (386) 426-5454

Leave a Reply