Do our young people today spend too much of their time staring at screens?

Oxford Mail: Who is in control? Who is in control?

YES: Botley chiropractor Anthony Larcombe

Technology is leaving teenagers in pain. Young people in the South East frequently suffer with neck or back pain before they’re 20 years old New findings from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) reveal that almost one in five people first started experiencing neck or back pain before they were 20.

In the UK, 40 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds have already suffered, and worryingly, more than one in seven parents said their son’s or daughter’s back or neck pain is a result of using a computer.

The research revealed that 68 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds spend up to four hours a day on a laptop, tablet or computer.

In clinics, chiropractors are also noticing a rise in the number of young people presenting with neck and back problems due to their lifestyle choices. Parents need to limit the time their children spend using technology and encourage more active pastimes over the Easter holidays.

Based on a two-hour period, young people spend more time on games consoles than doing an activity like riding a bicycle.

When asked how much time their teenager spends on their bicycle, one in five parents admitted that they don’t have one.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nearly half of parents questioned acknowledged that their children don’t spend enough time exercising, despite NHS guidelines stating that children and young people between five and 18 years old need to do at least one hour of physical activity every day.

We are seeing more and more people under the age of 16 with back and neck pain and technology is so often the cause.

Young people are becoming increasingly sedentary which is damaging their posture.

There is the tendency to sit in a hunched position when working on computers and tablets, putting a lot of strain on the neck.

Learning how to sit properly and keeping active will help to keep young people healthy and pain free.

It’s important that parents seek help for their children from an expert as soon as any pain starts – if conditions are left untreated it could lead to chronic back and neck problems in later life.

Try walking to school, riding a bike or going for a run.

It’s also important that children learn the correct way to sit when they’re using a computer. Teach them to keep their arms relaxed and close to their body and place arms on the desk when typing. Make sure the top of the screen is level with the eyes and the feet are flat on the floor, and don’t sit still for too long.

Oxford Mail:

NO: Webdeveloper at Incuna, Summertown, Henry Blyth

‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein.

There is currently an ongoing debate on how schools are stifling imagination and creativity by using more technology.

But video games are a creative endeavour – they challenge you in ways real life cannot, and as an adult they speak to eagerness and imagination, two things I would describe as my inner child and which I never want to lose.

When I was young, my friends and I played hide and seek on the playground. We also played cops and robbers, and army soldiers. Sometimes we would play board games too.

In Cops and robbers, the cops try to catch the robbers and put them in jail whilst the robbers tried to free the other robbers by getting to the jail and tugging them out before being caught by a cop. Two robbers are chosen at the beginning to have committed a crime and already be in jail, ready to be freed like the float in a till. Cops win if all the robbers are caught, but robbers win if all of them are freed.

Everybody wanted to be a robber because the psychological reward of freeing someone was greater than catching someone. Even though being a robber was considered cool due to the game mechanics, we knew the consequences of stealing, and by extension that cops are good and robbers are bad, because we were taught that in school. We were able to distinguish between fact and fiction and know that we weren’t really robbers.

Playing a robber excited our imagination in playing a part we wouldn’t be able to in real life.

Reading Harry Potter was exciting because we imagined ourselves in the magical world, casting magic here there and everywhere.
Eventually, that was made into a game too so we could embody these fantastical characters, feel what they might feel, and do what they might do.

Video games came along and we swallowed them whole: “I can be a red plumber jumping and flying around a 3D world filled with stars. Wow, I’d never seen this before. Now I can play the villain and kill James Bond? Awesome! That wasn’t even possible in the books or films. Now I can play a Miami citizen and blow up police cars with a tank. Incredible!”

We had books, films, and then video games. We knew it was all fiction – we weren’t magicians, we weren’t villains, and we weren’t robbers. But our imaginations were itching for more.

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