Bad posture, slouching common in children addicted to gadgets

While there have been many debates and discussions on cons of access usage of technology, recent addition to the list is how mobiles phones and tablets are responsible for poor postures among children

In an age when technology has become a part of our daily life and an integral part of education system, its ill-effects are bound to affect adults and kids alike.

While there have been many debates and discussions on cons of access usage of technology, the recent addition to the list is how mobiles phones, iPads and tablets are responsible for poor postures among children. City paediatricians and orthopaedics elaborate on how the trend is on the rise among city kids.

Bad postures adopted as a child, continues through adulthood

Citing an example of a nine-year-old, Dr Dilip Nadkarni, Orthopaedic at Lilavati Hospital, said Esha Rao (name changed) was addicted to iPad games and would spend entire day on her iPad. This caused her severe backache and spoiled her posture.

“Parents often give their children mobiles and tablets to play with, without even realising that this can spoil their child’s posture, which can also lead to problems in the long run,” said Nadkarni, adding that bad postures adopted as a child, continues through adulthood.

Increasing number of dependence on gadgets like mobile phone, laptop, iPad, without any exercise or physical activity in daily routine is the leading reason for poor posture in children.

Dr Samir Dalwai, President of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, said, “India lacks sports culture. With no activity in day-to-day cycle, kids become lazy. This laziness also shows on their body. Slouching is one common thing noticed among the kids nowadays.”

To prohibit children from developing poor postures, doctors say parents should take efforts in helping their children understand the relation between exercising and a good posture.

“Activities like swimming, running, skipping and stretching improves postures and should be inculcated as a habit in kids” added Dalwai.

What is a posture?

Posture is the alignment of spine with its adjoining structures. Incorrect posture, like slouching or sitting with shoulders hunched, creates misalignment along the spinal column and disrupts components of muscles. Consequently, it often causes back and neck pain among kids.

Sofas also spoiling their postures

“There is a rising trend among kids to sit on sofas and beds to eat food and study. Even the habit of watching television forces them to sit on sofas for longer hours,” said Dr Bela Verma, Professor of Paediatrics at JJ Hospital.

Doctors caution that sitting for long hours also increases risk of stiffness in joints and muscles. This in turn leads to muscle degeneration and herniated lumbar disk, also known as a slipped disc in lower back.

Dr Ameet Pispati, Orthopaedic at Jaslok Hospital, pointed out that children lie in an uneven position while operating their personal gadgets, mostly with hunched back for hours.

“All school projects are done on laptops, iPads and tablets, making them sit and work for hours in an uneven position causing backache and poor posture.”

Diet and exercise is the solution

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, which causes joint pains, stiffness and loss of flexibility. “Poor posture increases risk of osteoarthritis or can worsen existing osteoarthritis,” said Dr Pradeep Bhosale, Director of Arthritis and Joint Replacement Surgeries at Nanavati Hospital.

Bhosale said that diet plays a vital role in maintaining a good posture.

“Intake of Vitamin B3 should be high among kids. Vitamins and diet strengthens muscles and helps in maintaining a good posture,” said Bhosale.

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