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Healthy Cell Phone Usage for Your Child

By Donna Stark

I learned a new word this past weekend. Actually, when I read it, I thought it was just one of those words that are made up to prove a point in jest, but after Googling it to make sure, I realized that it really is a thing. The word is nomophobia, and it is defined as the fear of being without access to a working cell phone. On one hand, I can't believe that is actually a thing, but on the other, I am not surprised. Now don't get me wrong, I'll be the first one to admit that if I can't find my phone, I start to experience a sense of anxiety, but I also know that it won't be the end of the world. I survived life before without a cell phone and I can probably survive a day or two now. But I do wonder about my teen daughters, because even though I know they too would survive, I can't help to think that they will truly believe their life is over.

Emotional Consequences

We all love the convenience and comfort that the cell phone offers, but wouldn't you love to see the pupils of your child's eyes once again? Dependence on cell phones is at an all-time high, so it is important to look for certain behaviors in your children that will help determine if their cell phone usage is becoming unhealthy. Here are a few of those red flag behaviors.

  • Becomes anxious, unsettled, unreasonable, or angry when separated from their phone
  • Breaks the rules you set for healthy cell phone usage in and out of the home
  • Chooses isolation in social settings in order to be on their phone
  • Interrupts face-to-face conversations in order to respond to texts or notifications
  • Becomes emotionally invested in how many "likes" they receive
  • Loses interest in activities that don't include their phone

Physical Consequences

In addition to the behavior changes listed above, constant cell phone and electronic device usage can cause physical health issues as well. Take a look.

  • Tech neck - Tech neck occurs when you bend your neck forward and allow your head to hang down for extended periods of time. It can lead to significant neck strain, shoulder pain, and spinal issues.
  • Digital eye strain - Staring at an electronic device for too long can cause eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision.
  • Accidents and injuries - There is an increased risk of injury and death that comes from car accidents, falls, or walking into objects when a person is on their phone and not paying attention to what they are doing.

New Opportunities

It's easy for us all to become dependent on our phones, but it is especially insidious with teens. So, keep an eye on your child's cell phone usage and whenever possible, create opportunities for them to be involved with activities that do not require a phone.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in San Marcos, Calif.

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