My parents are CONSTANTLY on my brother and I about our phone usage. They always warn us about future health risks due to endlessly being on a cell phone. Are their fears now a reality? The newest controversy regarding cell phone usage is text neck. Text neck “is the term used to describe the injuries and pain sustained from looking down at wireless devices for too long.” Possible symptoms of text neck include headaches; pain in shoulders, upper back, and neck; and spine curvature. The more you tilt your head, the more weight is placed on your neck and upper back.
This diagram shows that by tilting your neck 60 degrees, your neck and lower back must support an extra 60 pounds. This is the equivalent of having an averaged-sized eight-year-old hanging on your neck for several hours throughout the day (Bever). Imagine the impact of this over time. Even though cell phones were produced and popularized in our generation, and therefore the effects of cell phone usage over a lifetime are unknown, it is clear that phones produce negative impacts on our body.
It is no secret that Americans live on their phones. I do not think I have ever been in an elevator with someone under the age of 50 who was not using a cell phone. Phones are used for everything. They can be used for awkward situations, such as elevators, and also to keep in constant contact with loved ones. While the improvement in technology is incredible, it may be doing more harm to us than we believe.
So what our necks will be in a little pain? This is not the only problem. Since text neck means poor posture, multiple other complications can occur as well. “Experts say [poor posture] can reduce lung capacity by as much as 30 percent. It has also been linked to headaches and neurological issues, depression and heart disease” (Bever). While a majority of these things are solely correlations and have yet to be proven as causations, it is important that we take them seriously.
While there has yet to be a multitude of studies done regarding text neck, it is clear that the epidemic is becoming a severe problem. Clearly we are not giving up technology any time soon, but we must be smart with it. We can start by laying down when using our phones, or simply using our eyes while looking at it, as opposed to bending our whole neck. I am very curious, and also slightly afraid, to see the impacts heavy technology usage has on us in the future.