The Weight of Technology – The Rise of iPad Neck

The Weight of Technology – The Rise of iPad Neck

Headaches, pain between the shoulder blades, down the arms and through the fingers are symptoms that could indicate that your child may be too attached to their smart phone or tablet and may be suffering from iPad neck or iPad shoulder. Although in recent years we have become more aware of proper posture especially while using desktop computers in an effort to reduce and avoid computer related neck and back pain, the arrival of portable devices and therefore smaller screens has made ergonomic principles much more difficult to follow. Few can argue with the fact that our lives are now much easier because of portable technology, however this has definitely come at a cost. The use of smart phones and tablets encourages poor posture and upper back and neck strain. This is because our necks are forced into a forward position whilst looking down at the small screen.  Often these devices are used in awkward positions like slouching on the sofa or lying down in bed leading to further strain on the soft tissues in the back of the neck. Initially these awkward positions cause little more than discomfort which can easily be relieved by simply changing position or by a few simple stretches. However, prolonged incorrect posture will gradually lead to more severe issues which are not as easily relieved and often need some form of treatment. It is important to remember that we have one back that has to last a lifetime so here are some tips to help you and your children avoid neck and back pain because of technology. Be mobile and avoid staying stuck in the same...
Emotion Coaching – the key to online safety and resilience in children

Emotion Coaching – the key to online safety and resilience in children

Keeping children safe online is no different from keeping them safe in everyday life. A strong emotional connection between children and parents is one of the building blocks to nurture resilience in children through emotion coaching and by fostering emotional intelligence to help keep them safe. Research has consistently indicated that children who are able to build a strong emotional connection with at least one parent and can communicate openly and honestly with them about difficulties have an inherent resilience when it comes to day to day life, including internet safety and use. This resilience is achieved through emotional intelligence* which refers to: an ability to identify and understand one’s own emotions successfully use emotions during social interactions use emotional awareness when solving problems keep distress from clouding one’s ability to think be in control of how and when feelings are expressed Emotional intelligence is essential as it allows your child awareness and control over what he or she does. It results in lower levels of stress which is associated with better health and enables more satisfying friendships and lasting relationships. Emotional intelligence also gives children better ability to calm themselves and concentrate when faced with challenging situations and makes change easier to deal with. It is distinct from intelligence, meaning that a child with low IQ and low educational achievement scores can have high emotional intelligence scores. Children who are emotionally intelligent will be less likely to communicate with strangers online or even to use the internet as frequently as they are more likely to be satisfied with their personal relationships and to be involved and positively engaged...
Cyber safety

Cyber safety

Today the Internet has become part of our lives. It has also created a few new words – when we want to know about something, we say “google it”……20 years ago it meant nothing. For the younger kids it is part of life and cannot even imagine life without it. Unfortunately the Internet has also a dark side. Nobody “owns” it which means that anybody can put just about anything and although sites like Youtube or Facebook will remove inappropriate or offensive content, it can be found elsewhere. This availability causes problems when children surf the web. What makes this particularly difficult to control is that often very innocuous looking links take the user to very non-innocous places…. If your children use your computer, set up user accounts for each of them (and one for you). You can put individual programs on each account – for example children would need a web browser but little else, and web browsers usually have security settings plus Windows itself has security settings – Control panel>Internet Options – I am talking about Windows but I imagine other operating systems have similar settings. Then there is software like Net Nanny (http://www.netnanny.com/) that controls and filters whatever you do and much more. Another area to watch out is a favorite:Facebook. Today almost everybody uses it, especially young people. Unfortunately it’s popularity also makes it an ideal place for dodgy activity. People tend to give too much details about themselves – apart from name they give adress, school, interests, hobbies and much more. Gathering all this data, one can make a pretty good profile of the...
Where’s the pen and paper?

Where’s the pen and paper?

The other day I was chatting casually to a priest when the subject turned to issues to do with the internet.  I enquired as to how in his view and experience the internet was affecting marriage and was intrigued by his answers.  Today, couples are using social media to resolve their issues.  Emails to sort out their problems and social media to externalise them or ‘cover’ them up.  Seeking refuge in such a public space can no doubt lead to many a misunderstanding and further complications.  Not to mention the added complication of comment boards from people who are close and not so close. The truth is that ICT has changed every aspect of our lives.  Marriage and relationships are one such aspect.  Smart phones and social media applications have made it easier to communicate. Gone are the days when our children’s budding romance had to wait for the weekend or that lone telephone call – today its full on social media.  Photos on Instagram, messages that are the subject of various comments, facebook posts and whatsapp messages.  We are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to means of communication today.  It has become so second nature that we feel almost lost without our phones or internet connection. The speed of communications has ironically hindered traditional communications.  Only recently I wanted to thank one of our excellent consultants for the great job he did on a family member.  I sat down and wrote a letter and got the children to do the same.  I have always valued written letters and thought this small gesture will be appreciated.  Indeed...
I can never get that moment back

I can never get that moment back

I remember a time when it was common to use siblings as messengers. This was nothing new to me. Some older girls at my school would quietly give me little notes, safely secured with sticky tape, to pass on to my brother. As soon as I hit my teenage years, I did the exact same thing and found someone else’s sibling to act as a messenger. Being in a conservative girls school, we would hide the letters in the sleeves of our cardigans in fear of the nuns finding out that we were sending letters to ‘boys’. It was all part of the excitement. I also remember sprinting to the phone, before anyone else in the family answered, just in case a ‘boyfriend’ called. Going out at the weekend meant that we didn’t know whether we would meet our crush. It was hard to forget the butterflies and the excitement that we felt if a person we fancied happened to be at the same venue. Like any teenager, I have no doubt that we acted foolishly and frivolously in the presence of a person that we liked. It was a different time and the passage of time is inevitable. The difference today is that, unlike my teenage years, most teenagers have an internet-enabled phone in their pocket. Our first flirtations may have ranged from a little note or a secret Valentine card. But without access to smartphones or the web, our romantic gestures, however embarrassing, were rarely seen by anyone else.  At most, the notes would be stored in a little shoebox. Unlike physical cards or photos, the Internet never forgets and, once...
Is social media too much for parents to handle?

Is social media too much for parents to handle?

My father used to say ‘children should be seen but not heard’. We grew up hearing this phrase in our family and I had no doubt he picked it up from his parents as my grandparents were of the same mindset. One look was enough for them to discipline us. That’s all it took. Times have changed and our views on parenting have also changed. The sooner our children talk the better. We are constantly comparing our children’s skills and abilities and equating it with intelligence. We have become slightly obsessed with our children and they way they look and how they act. We always think we know best. We seem to think we can determine everything from their friends, to their teachers to how they behave. The days of ‘your teacher is always right’ is rare if non-existent. For some reason we have developed an inherent belief that our children are flawless. We fear that their behaviour will be judged and we will be to blame. It often seems to me that we are always too quick to justify our children’s behaviour rather than disciplining them. My mother often justified her strict discipline by saying ‘you’ll thank me for this one day … one day you’ll have children of your own and you’ll understand me’. I never quite understood her until today when I often wished there was a handbook for raising children detailing steps one should take in each situation. The truth is there isn’t and many of us can only use our upbringing and instinct to guide us. A guide book will tell you how to...