The Times had an article on Oct. 2, 2021 with the above title by Dr. Hannah Scott, a doctor and mother. She made many excellent points. Poor posture in children is on the increase; back conditions are being diagnosed in younger children. Poor posture in children leads to back problems in adults such as osteoarthritis, reflux, poor balance and falls as well as pain.
The reasons for poor posture in children are the same as poor posture in adults. More time is spent on laptops and tablets as well as mobile phones. Laptops and tablets were never meant to be used all the time, but desktops are becoming rare. Sitting on a sofa with a laptop on your lap is guaranteed to cause poor posture and eventually neck and shoulder pain. The ubiquitous use of mobile phones is also to blame. We poke the neck forward and curve the thoracic spine to see the phone instead of holding the phone up to eye level. Children are on screens on average four hours a day. Many adults are on even more. Children also spend less time exercising than formerly.
Hunching over screens becomes a habit leading to a hunched posture generally. When the lungs are compressed by poor posture they can’t work well, oxygen is reduced leading to poor concentration, more stress hormones, poor mood.
All these points have been made before. The charity BackCare ran a campaign in 2005 to improve school furniture and advocating ergonomic backpacks. School desks used to be forward sloping which makes reading and writing with good posture much easier. It is important to have the top of the screen at eye level when the user is sitting well. A screen flat on the table is almost impossible to use without slumping. Individual desks went out years ago and now all children, regardless of size, sit at flat tables and on the same chairs, often backward sloping which makes good posture almost impossible. A forward sloping chair makes an upright posture much easier to maintain.
BackCare sell ergonomic backpacks from their online shop. See the website www.grannygetsagrip.com for many useful items, including lap trays and tablet stands which make life easier. For the best wedge cushions to convert a chair to a forward sloping one, go to the online shop at www.alexander.ie