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The last day of school has come and gone! Cue the parade... start the music... get out the iPads! Yes, vacation time has arrived--and, while the first few days were a thrilling novelty, the kids are now starting to get complacent and listless. The tablets are emerging and the video games are commencing. 

While tech moderation is key, we know that, these days, kids spend more and more time on media--particularly smartphones and tablets. Besides the obvious downside of screen time, there's one more undesirable side-effect that's literally a pain: tech neck! 

It's true: One in four kids, tweens, and teens suffer from back pain. That's why it's so important parents learn tips and tricks to prevent back and neck problems that could lead to ailments like Scoliosis.

We reached out to Dr. Rudolph Taddonio, orthopedic surgeon from Brain & Spine Surgeons of New York and one of the doctors tasked with refining ScoliScore, a groundbreaking DNA test that detects gene patterns found in patients with scoliosis, to share his top four tips to help kids stay pain free this summer and beyond. 

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Encourage your children to get off that couch and get active, especially during commercials

A simple way to work in a little activity is to encourage your child to move around, even while watching TV. Don’t fast-forward those commercials. Use that time for stretching and strength exercises, which in turn helps prevent muscle strain from sitting too long.

Don’t overdo training for a single sport

Young athletes who specialize in one sport could be in danger—it sets kids up for over-training. This is known to cause serious conditions like spinal stress fractures and overuse injuries. Children should vary activities they participate in, and they need ample rest in between.

Start the day nice and loose

Encourage your child to take five minutes in the morning and the afternoon to stretch. Stretching maintains flexibility and takes pressure off the spine. This is crucial before starting any activity or after a long day of sitting.

Even kids get “tech neck”! Bring the phone to your face, not the other way around

The forward-bent-head position of texting causes damage to the spinal cord over a period of time. That puts pressure on the spinal cord and compresses those blood vessels. Encourage your children to keep phones, tablets, and all electronics at eye level so the head is in a forward-facing position. 

And we might add--take a break from those devices. Summer is fleeting--get off the electronics and enjoy it while you can!

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