Is Screen Time Affecting Athletic Performance?

Updated: Feb 22

As a performance coach you must use an integrated approach to all aspects that affect performance and one area that often gets neglected the most is restoration, so I wanted to share a topic that I don't think gets it's just due in today's society and I am first hand seeing the negative impact it is having on our youth today - Digital Demenia.

Digital Dementia is a modern day health epidemic resulting in a sensory mismatch in the brain from over utilization of technology and excessive slouched sitting posture. Adolescents with Digital Dementia demonstrate a decline in cognition and short-term memory loss, symptoms associated with dementia. Your children may be at risk for Digital Dementia if they spend hours per day seated in front of technological devices with poor posture and little movement.

Adolescents who have digital dementia show a decline in cognition and short-term memory loss, which are the two symptoms of dementia. The signs and symptoms of digital dementia are:

  • Slouched posture

  • Developmental delays

  • Short-term memory loss

  • Lack of motivation

  • Anxiety

  • Anger

  • Depression

  • Balance disorders

  • Uncoordinated movement patterns

How to Avoid Digital Dementia For Your Teenager/Kids

There are precautions you can take to limit your child’s chances of developing electronic dementia. Below are seven useful tips.

1. Limit Screen Time

The suggested screen time for children of all ages should be limited to two hours a day and no TV or digital entertainment should be permitted for children under the age of two. Homes should have “screen-free zones”, especially in bedrooms.

2. Use your Head Instead of Relying on Digital Devices

When possible, try to think for yourself instead of relying on your computer to do the thinking for you.

3. Learn a New Language

Using the brain to learn something new, like a new language, provides brain stimulation that can fend off all types of dementia.

4. Get Physical

Exercise is extremely important in order to keep the brain active and healthy.

5. Perform Brain-Based Postural Exercises

Brain-based learning refers to teaching methods, lesson designs, and school programs that are based on the latest scientific research about how the brain learns, including cognitive development—how students learn differently as they age, grow, and mature socially, emotionally, and cognitively.

6. Read a Real Book, Not a Kindle

Yes, reading is

great stimulation for the brain, but reading from electronic devices such as a Kindle, exposes your body to electromagnetic fields which can promote electronic dementia.

7: Interact with Real Life

Children need to spend the majority of their time interacting with real people and real life instead of the equivalent from computer games. Make sure they regularly perform the following:

  • Exercise

  • Play outdoors

  • Reading

  • Enjoy hobbies

  • Use their imaginations creatively

  • Learn with non-electronic formats like newspapers, board games and books

  • TVs should be turned off during meals to foster family time interaction

Other Tips For Parents

You can also follow these tips for extra precautions against electronic dementia:

  • Do not feel pressured to introduce technology early in your child’s life

  • Monitor children’s media—for example, be aware of what apps are used

  • Turn off the television set and other devices when not in use—background media can distract from parent-child interaction and child play, which are both very important in child language and social-emotional development

  • Keep the bedroom, mealtimes and parent-child playtimes screen-free

  • Avoid exposure to devices or screens an hour before bedtime

  • Avoid using media as the only way to calm your children—this can lead to problems with a child’s own ability with setting limits and managing emotions

For more information here is great link to an article on the topic with a video on the topic:

Besides what I talked about above the other areas your athletes should be considering in their restoration program include:

  • Soft Tissue Quality

  • 3D Joint Mobility and Tissue Flexibility

  • 3D Joint Stability

  • Nutrition

  • Sleep

  • Stress Management

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