Dr. Vince Hoffart is a chiropractor in Rocklin who specializes in the neuroscience of healthy brains and bodies and the connection between the spine and mental health. He observes that our modern lifestyle with apps and devices can easily convince us to ignore what we need, to aggressively pursue that which does not necessarily fulfill us, and creates “posture issues” that impact our outlook on life. We sat down today to talk about the impact of technology on family life and the physical and mental health of youth.
One of the first topics of our conversation is that as human beings, we are wired to look for threats – it is the instinct to survive. And today, this has translated to a fear of not surviving in the social network. “FOMO or fear of missing out, with texting and social media, can be a real problem for families because people are giving more attention to the devices,” he said. “In our family, we declared a ‘no use of electronics Sabbath’. From dinner time on Saturday night until dinner time on Sunday evening, we do not use electronics – except to watch a movie together or look up a recipe on-line.”
According to Hoffart, declaring weekly downtime from the personal devices has changed the dynamic of family life in their home to the good. “We do other things like play basketball, or take long walks together,” he said. “And it is surprising to see how the kids are arguing less and sharing more laughter. Even my 22-year-old will come home when he can on the weekend to be with us.” And still with the weekly break from technology, Hoffart observes that the devices keep his family isolated while in the same room. “We were watching the Olympics as a family, but not really,” he said. “All the while the Olympics were playing everyone was occupied with SnapChat or some other app. We were in the same room, doing our own thing.” Observing this same phenomenon in restaurants, Hoffart ponders out loud “why is it that when we are together we still seek to be with people who are not present?”
Intimately familiar with the relationship between the brain and spine and how it impacts the mental and emotional health of youth, one of Hoffart’s concerns is that the chronic use of devices has impacted the posture of youth. “Posture is actually a big deal,” he said. “Use of the devices is inspiring kids to slouch, which impacts how their brain and body connect and then affects their mental outlook.” According to Hoffart, the joints and muscles stimulate the brain stem, which in turn stimulates the neocortex and the prefrontal cortex (the decision-making center or executive function of the brain). Good posture promotes good neuro communication signals between body and brain and improved oxygen intake to invigorate brain cells, while slouching does not. “When normal messages do not come up from the body to the brain, the brain does not grow and adapt to its full potential,” he said.
“why is it that when we are together we still seek to be with people who are not present?”
Hoffart encourages folks to consider how posture looks as well as feels. “When you are slouching, you are in a posture of defeat; and when you sit up straight and tall, shoulders back, you are in a posture of victory. This affects your mental state,” he said.
When our children are hunched over their phones, what does this signal to you? And more importantly, are our children aware of how their use of devices and apps affecting their outlook on life?
To learn more about spinal health and your child’s brain, go to: Hoffart Chiropractic.
To learn how to integrate technology use at home in ways that strengthen relationships, go to: Fresh Start.
Faith is a touchy subject, and yet we know when you stand for nothing, you fall for anything – especially in the social network.
All it takes is one mustard seed of faith to get a fresh start.
To learn more, go to Fresh Start.
Joanna Jullien is an educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. Trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, she is a mother of two grown sons, an author of books on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. She founded Banana Moments Foundation, now Core Connectivity in order to inspire and inform parents about their inherent capacity to govern the home and educate the child how not to give up power to the bully, the drug or the device. To learn more about her education services, go to Core Connectivity . As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.
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