We all love our gadgets and electronics. Most of us check our
smartphones regularly and spend considerable time standing around
holding the phones texting, playing games, and checking Facebook.
While this is indeed a mostly pleasant experience, our bodies may
not be feeling the same way.
How we hold our gadgets affects how we hold our bodies. More
importantly, how we hold our bodies affects our health. It's as
simple as that. And it's as scary as that. For most of us, texting
or using our phones has become so ubiquitous, so natural, that we
don't realize that we're doing something very unnatural in
the process. When we look down to use our phones, we often fail to
stand up straight and thus our posture changes, which can have
negative effects on our bodies and our health.
Take a look at the graphic below and consider the amount of
weight on your spine as you lean in closer to see the smartphone
screen. That is considerable weight pressure! Sixty pounds. No one
would want to carry a suitcase with that much weight around. Yet,
we literally carry that weight on our spine when we send a text
Research supports the seriousness of this issue. "
One estimate suggests people use these devices for roughly two to
four hours a day, meaning our necks stay bent for 700 to 1,400
hours in a given year. High school students are even
Too much texting can lead to an actual pain in the neck for some
people. Excessive looking down now even has a name: "
text neck." Think about this. And pause and look up to get your
body into the proper posture.
As health communicators it is not our role to changes people's
mind about their gadgets and electronics. That's pretty much a lost
cause, and even this blogger loves her handy little devices.
However, it is our role to educate the public about the health
effects of life habits. Posture--and the possibility of a resulting
text neck--is one huge negative effect. Bottom line: Look up a
little more and see the world around you. Oh, and your mom said to
stand up straight!