Episode 05: Kids (and Adult!) Posture on Tech

Podcast with Dr. Elyssa Wright

Dr. Elyssa: 

Welcome back mamas. This is Dr. Elyssa Wright, and I am so excited to be with you again here for episode six. So today we are talking about all of the increased screen time and what it is doing for the posture of our kids, and honestly, the posture of all of the adults in the household too. So I am here with Mama Poff,

Mama Poff: 

I’m sorry. I’m already laughing because you’re saying posture and the house and all have all that came into my head was politics. And like it’s screen time as a political debate around here. It’s crazy.

Dr. Elyssa: 

It is. So a little bit about screens and just to take a second to talk about screens and what they are doing to all of our brains. So any time we have screens, it’s like, we’re getting a little bit of happy juice. So the dings on our phones, the vibrates on our phones, the winning a level at a game, the getting to the next space when you’re building something, I know a lot of kids are playing like building games where there’s different pieces and you get things and you build houses and Jenny, what’s that called?

Mama Poff: 

Oh, well right now the, the big favorite in my house with my nine year old is roadblocks.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Yeah. The things.

kids, technology, bad posture, Hosted by Dr. Elyssa Wright

Mama Poff: 

Yeah. And then the Minecraft and, you know, but they’re so good. They’re engineering things. So part of me doesn’t get so beat up about it, but you’re right. Like, and for us, we made a space for my younger one to sit at to when school was virtual and sitting at a desk, but then she gets bored and then she wants to lay in the bed. And the other day I saw my 13 year old laying with their feet up and having the laptop all crooked in her lap. And even her hands were like, not even right on the keyboard and like, Oh, Dr. E is gonna yell at you all.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Yup. And that’s the big thing is. So one, let’s all be realistic. Everybody’s home all the time right now screen time is going up and it’s okay. Realize that there is a little bit of an addiction thing with the screen time. So I know we were talking ahead of time, have it be on a reward based system so that way, yeah, there is always a counter time to the screen time.

Mama Poff: 

So moms, here’s my favorite tip. I have two different things that I do in the house. One worked really well when they were younger. Again, my mama puffs kids are two girls, 13 and nine. So when they were little, like four and eight, we had a ticket reward system. And when they were really good and read the book and did this thing and did that thing, they would get a ticket and then they could turn the tickets in for rewards. So maybe that’s money or maybe it’s tech time. So they had to earn it now, as they’re older tickets, aren’t so cool. Just like stickers aren’t so cool anymore. But what we do now is you want tech time, great. Here’s a book read an hour and you’ll get an hour. And especially now with school over, they don’t have that accountability. So now this is the next best thing for us. So if you want to read, grab that book and then you get your hour of roadblocks time.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Yep. So the reward system is great. Um, and that’s just a little piece to know like, Hey, when you do have the fight that the tech is going away after that hour, just a little reminder, brains do get addicted to it. So it is like cutting an addiction. And just to kind of remember like, Hey, this is going to happen and it’s going to be okay.

Mama Poff: 

I think mama is, if you think about that, just I’m so glad you said that Dr. E of addiction of, cause it truly is. I mean, I’m a PTA mom and they’ve even had, um, screen time, uh, like self-help webinars or whatever. And it was, there’s actually like tech rehab for some of these teenagers. But if moms can think early of their kid’s life, that you are enabling an addictive behavior, if you’re doing that with an iPad, what are you gonna do when they become teenagers and start developing bad habits? And I really believe parenting is a lot of training ourselves, better behaviors to teach the kids. So, but so I’m just saying, thank you for bringing up the word addictive. Screen time is one thing to keep them quiet so you can get your work done when they’re home and it’s raining and dah, dah, dah, or waiting at the restaurant or whatever it is, but just keep in mind. There’s, there’s a, um, there’s a quantity control that we have to hold to.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Yup. Yup. So it’s just something to remember. And, you know, we all have good days and bad days with all of our tech, all of us. And it’s just one of those things to remember and keep in mind. And the second piece to remember is where that screen time is happening. So I know you were talking about your daughter laying on her bed in different postures. And I strongly recommend no screen time in the bedroom. And this all comes back to that sleep hygiene that we talked about a few weeks ago. I, when you’re in your bedroom, I really, really recommend not having anything that gives off blue light within the sleeping space. So that’s the TVs, that’s the iPads, that’s the cell phones, anything that is a screen, keep it out of the bedroom, just because that space we’re training you to know that that space is no screen time. And that space is a space that you fall asleep with.

Mama Poff: 

Yeah. And plus for moms with rebellious kids, keeping the tech in their room also means you don’t know when they’re on it, unless you’re savvy enough to put on that screen time locked down on it.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Yep. So that’s my recommendation is do the best to keep the tech out of bedrooms and that’s for us to, um, we have a basket outside of our bedroom that when we go to bed at night, all the cell phones go into the basket and we have a good old fashioned alarm clock.

Mama Poff: 

I was going to say, how do you wake up?

Dr. Elyssa: 

Good old fashioned alarm clock, but really try to keep all of that out of the bedroom, keep that space for sleep, period.

Mama Poff: 

Keep it sacred, sacred. I mean, it’s, it’s that good fuel again, right? You got to put good fuel in the body and sleep is one of them.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Yep. So, and that will get rid of a lot of the posture issues around screen time. So pay attention to when your kids are on devices and notice how they are postures are and how hunchy they are and how forward their head is when they’re on a cell phone, when they’re on a tablet, when they’re on a computer. The smaller, the screen, the worst, the posture, because for some reason we feel like we just need to get right on it in there. So I recommend if there is screen time, the bigger the screen, the higher the posture is going to be. So I don’t love kids playing on cell phones. I pads are better. The bigger, the better laptops, anything where they’re upright is better. And when you’re avoiding doing screens and the bed, the bed postures are all types of crazy.

Mama Poff: 

Is this an opportunity though that may be in the show notes maybe cause you are, sir, you’re a trained yoga instructor. Maybe there are a couple of yoga positions that you can share with our mamas to show their kids of if they are seeing them too over and crouching too low and not doing well, that maybe there are some yoga things that they can experiment with the kids just to get them stretched out again.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Yeah. There’s some great stretches that we’ll put in the show notes, but more important thing is when we are seated and when we are in that posture, I love being a chiropractor. I love looking at how the brain works. So when we’re sitting and one more forward, we’re going into what’s called flection. So if you imagine a newborn little baby, who’s all curled up in a little ball, that’s flexion, well, babies brains aren’t developed yet. So they’re not thinking they’re not talking, they’re not reading when we’re sitting, we’re actually decreasing some of those higher levels of thinking and processing. So I want to reverse that from a neurological standpoint. And I have a trick for that.

Mama Poff: 

I was going to say, let’s flip the doctor geek into mom speak.

Dr. Elyssa: 

So the big thing is, there’s a bunch of stretches we can do that. Reverses the muscle stuff that we’ll talk about in the show notes, but how do we make that brain healthy again? How do we short line that all those pathways and how do we get it to healthy? And the best way to do that is actually side to side play. So super fun, super easy. And this is where all of us moms can put on our hats of the games we played when we were little.

Mama Poff: 

Okay.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Think about it. It was all side to side. So hopscotch, you’re kind of switched to moving side to side. And I don’t know if you guys remember the shuttle run where you run across and you’d pick up the eraser and then run back and put the eraser down when you pick up that eraser, you’re switching. And now you’re moving side to side, Red Rover side to side tag, side to side basketball side to side, catch side to side. Um, and so anything that gets you moving left to right versus front and back, what does that do? So that side to side is called, moving in the coronal plane. So if you imagine putting a crown on that’s the coronal plane, anything that moves you side to side in your crown. What that does is it actually tells your brain to wake up some different things and it wakes up everything that brings you back upright

Mama Poff: 

Huh.

Dr. Elyssa: 

So I think back to my childhood, when we didn’t have screen time and I was outside in the neighborhood, we were playing capture the flag tag, all of these things that involved us, moving in all different directions.

Mama Poff: 

It’s amazing. I’m, I’m just kind of flabbergasted that just movement can reset the then will help your posture.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Yup. And so that’s been, the big thing we’ve been doing in my practice is all of my patients are getting posture exercises, and it’s things that get us moving side to side. Even as much as I call them bird flaps in my office, and it’s just taking your arms and reaching them up and overhead through that side. So I’ll put a little video to these in the show notes. So that way you guys can see them. But even that helps to undo all of the forwardness that technology and sitting brings us into. So there’s a bunch of ways to undo what we’re feeling when we’re seated. And the other thing we can do is like, how do you sit when you’re on screens? So I know a lot of my patients are like, Oh, well, I sit like this. And all of a sudden they’re completely slumpy bent over, looking down at their legs to wherever their devices.

Dr. Elyssa: 

And the big thing that we got to do is get our posture up while we are sitting. So easy way to remember, this is 90 degrees, everything at 90 degrees, you want to check that your legs are parallel to the ground. What you’re going to put your knees at 90 degrees. So for some people, they need to throw some books underneath their feet for other people, they need to lower their chair down, kind of whatever you need to do to make sure that your thighbone is parallel to the ground. The next thing is you don’t want to sit against the back of your chair. So you want to slide up so that way you actually can’t hit the back of your chair. When we are at the back of our chair, we tend to melt into it. And then we get all slumpy through our spine. So legs parallel to the ground back should be perpendicular to the ground. So stay away from the back of the chair. Think about reaching a string through the tippy top of your head and going straight up.

Mama Poff: 

This is something where like those exercise balls at workstations help too, right? Because they force you to get right into that position. Exactly.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Yep. And with exercise balls, if you bring that into your desk setup, I recommend doing it slowly because you’re actually using a lot of core stabilizing muscles that you might not use all the time and you can get pretty sore pretty quickly. So bring it in, but be able to also switch it out because do you want to get all tired? As we keep moving up, I always go through this as the head shoulders, knees and toes check. So as I keep moving up the back, we’re going to check where your arms are with the keyboard. So when you’re on a computer, you want your elbows and your forearms to be at 90 degrees. So forearms parallel to the ground, just like the legs. And we check in there. Now the tricky thing is with the tablets, do your best to get a keyboard with a tablet. Otherwise, when you have your tablet, you want to make sure that it’s in front of your face. So this is where it gets to be a little tricky because you either need to get a stand for it, or you’re going to make your arms really tired, holding it up. If that’s not an option, timers, get set every 15 minutes, you stand up, you stretch. And then you go back to your tablet.

Mama Poff: 

15 minute breaks

Dr. Elyssa: 

15 minute breaks, and they don’t need to be long breaks. They can be about 15 seconds, but yeah, need to stand up, flap your arms, do a stretch. Before you go back into it with our posture, remember head shoulders, knees, and toes. Keep your head as upright as you can. Keep your shoulders back. Arms parallel to the ground, back not on the back of the chair, up off the front legs, parallel to the ground, everything upright and open. Makes sense. Also try to throw a picture into these soap notes. That way you can actually see what a good seat of posture looks like, because I know it could be a little hard to figure it out from a voice explanation of it. So I’ll do my best to help you guys out with that. Um, and that are kind of the big things with the screen time and the posture. And everything with screen time is twofold. There is that emotional connection to it. There is that how much of the screen is affecting the brain from just the screen itself. And then there’s what that brain effect is from our posture.

Mama Poff: 

I think what’s really great though, Dr. E is like the, all these things that you’ve said, you know, it’s one thing for adults to keep us in check with the neck, the hands, shoulders, knees, and toes. But it’s also, you know, a way to break up the argument with the kids of breaking screen time, because the break is that fun game of an exercise game of race or whatever, or the reward system of reading the book in a different space or, and all of those reward systems and distractions help against not only the addiction of screen time, but then the posture, because there’s a lot of, maybe we can cover in another episode of the effects of not having good posture and what happens after prolonged. I’m just going to say kink in your systems and what happens because they could have really big, substantial issues later.

Dr. Elyssa: 

Yep, absolutely. And I think that will be a one to cover more in depth cause that is chiropractic at its core. Um, and that’s what I see as my 60, 70, 80 year old patients who didn’t have good posture as kids whose spines didn’t grow straight as kids, the aftermath of chronic pain that they get to unfortunately, experience as adults. So the importance of posture throughout life, super, super important and dealing with it in our kids, saves them from pain as adults. So reminders one, check your head, shoulders, knees, and toes. When you are using technology. Two, no screens in the bedroom, find other places to be on your phones, on your iPads, on your tech tablets of any sort. And number three, keep, keep a lookout on the type of screens that you’re using. And you know, the bigger screen is going to give you a better posture. It’s going to keep you more upright, more upright. And with all of that screen time, remember to take time to undo it, whether it be with bird flaps or family game time outside, finding something where you’re moving side to side versus front to back.

Dr. Elyssa: 

And that covers it. So, alright mamas, thank you, Mama. Poff for coming in again and remember to share this with your friends and family bodyandbalancechiropractic.com/podcast. If you have any recommendations for topics that you would love to hear about, fill out the form and get back to us. And as always, we will look forward to chatting with you guys next week. All right. See you later mamas.

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