In the Age of Mobile Phones and Media Use

In the age of smart phones, On Demand TV, handheld DVD players, and video games targeting individuals of all ages, the impact of technology on the brain – particularly the developing brain – is a matter of significant interest to both neuroscientists and the general public. 

One trend, in particular, that researchers have documented with concern is an increase in television viewing by infants. Some have highlighted a potential negative impact on the development of language, cognition, and attentional capacity, echoed in a recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that media use be avoided in children under age 2!

And more recent headlines such as “Mobile phones should be banned from the dinner table and bedtimes as part of a healthy approach to devices, the UK’s four chief medical officers have said.

Little boy eating pasta and looking at his phone, bad posture

Children should also take a break from screen-based activities every two hours, the government advisers said.” – BBC News

In a recent  study, speakers playing sounds from children’s TV shows were mounted above mouse cages and LED lights of varying colors and intensities were shone in accordance with the audio.

The elevated plus maze (cross maze), tests revealed that overstimulated mice were generally more active and less anxious/more likely to take risks and spent longer on the unsecured sides, than controls, whereas the novel object recognition tests suggested that overstimulated mice had diminished short-term memory and learning difficulties. The overstimulated mice simply took no notice or interest of the new object, whereas the control mice investigated thoroughly.

These structural problems caused by faulty posture can also lead to respiratory dysfunction 6). Perry et al. investigated the possibility of correlation between dysfunctional breathing and musculoskeletal pain patterns. Their result showed that 83% of patients with neck pain (caused by faulty posture) experienced a changed breathing pattern.

This study indicated that there was a relationship between neck pain and respiration.  Forward Head Posture is one of the most common cervical abnormalities that predispose individuals to pathological conditions, such as headache, neck pain, temporomandibular disorders, vertebral body disorders, alterations in the length and strength of soft-tissue, and scapula and shoulder dyskinesia12). Many studies proved that prolonged computer users tended to have a higher ratio of Forward Head Posture13,14,15). If people concentrate on watching the relatively small screen, they tend to bend their neck more to look at the screen. This may be the reason for the development of more severe problems.

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