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Are cell phones ruining family time?

Using cell phones during family time can distract you from connecting with your loved ones. Learn more.

As a parent, you set the “rules” for what role cell phones and other mobile devices play during family time. Keep in mind your phone use is an example your kids are likely to follow too.

Being on your cell phones during family time can distract you from connecting with each other. How appropriate you think it is to use cell phones during family time is likely linked to whether or not you use your own phone then. While some people need to check their phones for work or emergency purposes, it’s also important for parents to model putting away their phones, engage in face-to-face communication with loved ones, and enjoy time together. When teens spend more time with their parents, they tend to set higher educational goals. Less cell-phone use also means less screen time, which enables kids to get outdoors and be more physically active. Quality time together strengthens your family’s resilience too.

Overuse of cell phones can, in some cases, lead to strong urges to use your phone even when it leads to negative outcomes. This can feel like a lack of control over how often you pick up your phone or how long you’re on it. You might feel compelled to constantly check it without a real reason too. And if you don’t have access to your phone, your mood can change.

If it’s hard to get your family on the same page about cell phones, call a family meeting. Consider the following questions and agree on a plan that works for everyone.

  • What does appropriate use of cell phones during mealtimes look like?
  • Can you place all cell phones on silent, in a basket, or out of view during family time?
  • Are you comfortable using cell phones to play family games together?
  • How does everyone feel about limiting cell phone use during family outings?

 

Posted 19 June 2017

Prevent “text neck”

There’s a healthier way to read this article on your mobile device.

Are you reading this article on your smartphone or tablet? Look up for a moment and observe those nearby, staring at their phones. Most people look down at their phones while reading or texting. So, what’s the problem? This posture can be a major pain in the neck—literally. Doctors and researchers are calling it “text neck,” and this poor posture is causing early wear and tear to your spine.

The human head weighs about 10–12 pounds, so looking straight ahead doesn’t add any strain to your spine. But, as you tilt your head forward, the weight of your head begins to increase the strain on your neck and spine. Even a slight, 15-degree angle increases the weight on your spine by about 27 pounds. Looking down at 60 degrees? That’s about 60 pounds. Think about it this way: That’s like carrying a couple of 30-pound ammo cans around your neck for several hours a day.

To limit your risk of text neck, look down at your device with your eyes, not your head. Better yet, hold your device up to eye level. Be aware of your posture and try adding daily exercises that strengthen your back, neck, and shoulders too.

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