Doctors warn about the dangers of too much screen time - FOX Carolina 21

Doctors warn about the dangers of too much screen time

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

In the age of smartphones and tablets, doctors warn there are serious and lasting side effects that stem from this technology.

According to doctors, too much screen time can cause serious problems with posture. Doctors have even coined terminology for the problem. They refer to it as "iPosture" or "text neck."  Doctors said looking down is taking a serious toll on people's necks and spines.

"We call it 'text neck,' or the 'Bill Gates effect,'" said Dr. Jennie Gettys of Main Street Chiropractic. "Basically, everyone of all ages is doing this, and if they're not doing this, they're at their desk doing this."

Gettys said it's not just posture that is affected by constant screen time. She said too much slouching puts pressure on all the vital organs and weakens the immune system.

"As we compress everything, the nerve flow cannot get to the organs it needs, and it decreases your body's ability to keep you healthy," said Gettys.

In addition to spine health, doctors said there are concerns about long term mental effects.

"I think it leads to attention problems. There's too much to look at," said Dr. Scott Dobson of Parkside Pediatrics.

Doctors said the danger of slouching while using technology comes from the frequency with which people do it. A 2009 study found on average, most kids spend nearly eight hours per day in front of a screen.

The consequences for this tech-consumed generation are serious, according to doctors.

"We see 20 and 30 year olds with the health of a 70 or 80-year-old spine."

According to doctors, the solution is awareness. Doctors recommend bringing your phone or tablet closer to eye level. They said taking a few moments each day to care more about the human body than about what's on the screen will make a big difference.

Personal trainers also recommend strengthening the back, shoulder and core muscles to increase spine longevity. They said these are the muscles most damaged by constant hunching when texting and sitting at a computer screen.

Doctors said they are particularly worried about kids and teens when it comes to the long term effects of "iPosture" and "text neck." 

The American Academy of Pediatrics said parents should ban screen time for all children under the age of two. 

Other experts said it's all about moderation. According to the experts, setting screen time limits for kids and teens will drastically improve posture and prevent other health problems.

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