The innovative age of technology continues to inspire youth, both teenagers and children. This technology, however, may be causing serious health problems across young generations as well.
And teenagers are embracing technology more than any other age demographic. According to statistics portal Statista, smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 24 spend over 90 hours per month on apps. Some would even argue technology has become an addiction among teenagers and children.
It may even be shrinking the brains of youth. Astudy published in academic journal PLoS ONE (2011) found that Internet addiction might result in brain alterations and chronic mental dysfunction.
Could innovative devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets beharming the health of teenagers and children? From text neck to hearing loss, technology may not be so innovative after all.
Text Neck Epidemic Debilitating Teenage Health
You or someone you may know might be a victim of text neck. It is not an uncommon health issue anymore. And it may be the root of neck and back pain among teenagers and children.
Research compiled by the British Chiropractic Association found nearly 50 percent of youth between the ages of 16 and 24 are experiencing back and neck pain. In fact, researchers suggest that teenagers spend roughly ten hours on their butts, and only around two hours being active.
These long periods of poor posture while browsing are suggested to be the cause of text neck. Onestudy published in Surgical Technology International (2014) found that poor posture via technology could cause very early degeneration and uncharacteristic wear-and-tear on the spine. Often resulting in surgery in young people never seen before.
Cause of Nearsightedness and Sleep Problems
Excessive technology use through smartphones, tablets, and laptops may cause both physical and mental health problems. A teenager or child’s vision could become impaired, and they may experience poor sleep cycles as well.
In a technology culture where90 percent of Millennials keep their smartphones at their side at all times, nearsightedness has become the result. One study found thatnearsightedness spiked from 25 percent in the 1970s between the ages of 12 to 54, to 42 percent by the early 2000s. Researchers suggest that smartphones and their small screens are possibly to blame.
The mental health issues associated with technology can also be found in the sleep cycles of teenagers and children. Or lack of sleep. The blue light produced by LED screens may be throwing teens’ eternal clocks into mayhem. It may even be damaging retinas,according to research published in Photochemistry and Photobiology (2012).
The mental and physical health issues associated with smartphones, tablets, and laptops equipped with LED blue light may lead to a variety of serious medical conditions. Obesity, diabetes, and America’s number one cause of death, heart disease, can all be the result of poor sleep.
Technology Putting Teen Hearing at Risk
There is a wealth of accessories a teenager can combine with his or her smartphone, tablet, and laptop. Some culprits of teen hearing loss are loud audio devices such as headphones or ear buds. As technology advances, so does the audio volume.
According to theWorld Health Organization, 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss. This has huge implications on personal and societal health. The data also found that 50 percent of teenagers and young adults between the ages of 12 and 35 are exposed to unsafe sound volume via personal audio devices.
Is Your Teen or Child at Risk?
There are safe alternatives and preventive measures you can take to ensure technology doesn’t put you or your family’s health at risk. Tech could be an addiction, and overcoming the possible health issues outlined may take time.
Overcoming them, however, could improve not only short-term health, but long-term as well. Becoming more active and encouraging your teen to join is a great way to begin.
Also limiting the LED blue light a few hours prior to bedtime may also be beneficial. There is a way to coexist with technology, and just like everything else, moderation is the key.