Researching Link Between Mobile Technology and Poor Health in Youth

Dr. Regina Pope Ford and her assistant Vineeth George Kuriakose work with study participant Cameron Stirrison.

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October 6, 2017

Studies show the younger generation has a growing dependence on technology and it has become central to their lives. Many of them admit they are addicted to their smartphones and many more say they feel anxious and lost if they are without it. The question we are asking now is, just how detrimental is this addiction to their physical health?

Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering & Technology Assistant Professor at Bradley University, Dr. Regina Pope Ford, is researching the physical effects of cell phone usage on today's youth. Mostly concerned with the body posture that comes along with playing games on mobile devices, Dr. Ford began a study to see if there is a connection between cell phone usage and musculoskeletal disorders.

To start, she is researching local children ages 10-12. She is observing children over a two-hour timespan as they play games on mobile devices while hooked up to body sensors that measure muscular activity and posture angles. A survey is given to the parents and the child to further analyze the child's technology habits.

It is Dr. Ford's technical background and big heart for the people around her that have led her to conducting this study. Believing that human factors and ergonomics are a vital part of our lives, she said, "As humans, we typically conform to a task at hand. It is my goal to create devices that conform to the individual instead."

For interested participants, the entire study takes place over a two-hour timespan. Participants are instructed to play a game on their mobile device while hooked up to body sensors that measure muscular activity and posture angles. A survey is given to the parents and the child to further analyze the child's technology habits. Ford compensates each participant $20 for his/her time.