This behavior just isn’t sustainable. The entire world will be ruined if we keep this up. A decade from now, we’re all going to regret our actions. We’ll wish we’d done things differently. We’ll wish we hadn’t had such poor posture when using our phones and computers.
If you don’t think that this is a serious issue facing the world, then clearly you’re looking down at your phone too much to see everyone else with the same bent neck as you.
Take a look at the search trend data for the term “My Neck Hurts”:
Now take a look at the search trend data for “neck pain”:
And just for fun, here’s the search trend data for “back pain”:
Now, are you convinced that people are feeling the effects of poor posture?
This massive, precipitating health concern is not getting enough attention. And I worry that we’re going to be reactive to this problem, instead of being proactive.
As a person who’s watched his Grandpa, dad, and cousin struggle with severe back pain, I know that once the damage is done there’s very little you can do to make things better again.Ryan
All the cortisone shots and spinal fusions in the world won’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
So what might we be able to do about it?
In classic 21st century fashion, a load of “band-aid” technology solutions has appeared for correcting posture. The two that come to mind are UpRight and Lumo Lift. Both are wearable devices that vibrate when your posture is bad.
The product reviews for these linger around 3.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. And Fakespot (a review checker site) gave Lumo Lift a D and UpRight an F. In other words, even the good reviews on those products aren’t trustworthy.
Regardless, wearable posture devices have gotten huge on social media through enormous ad spends.
Personally, I think we’re nearing saturation for single-function tech devices. Adding another piece of technology to our lives seems like a stretch. Who needs something zapping them all day long? And if you want to talk about transhumanism, this is it!
The root of the problem is not our physiology. The problem originates in our devices themselves.
Smartphones should have Posture Mode. Just like you can turn on Low Power Mode, a Posture Mode setting would analyze your posture and tell you to correct it when your neck is bent and your shoulders slouched.
This is possible because our smartphones have a gyroscope in them that can measure the angle of our phone and thus predict the angle we’re bending our neck at.
On iPhone, the NeckGuard app sends you a push notification every hour to check your posture. You can correct your posture until the screen shows green, then go right back to having poor posture… A notification isn’t enough.
On Android, the Text Neck Indicator app used to be very close to what I’m alluding to. The app used to work in the background constantly to check the angle of your phone. Then, there was an icon in the top left corner of your phone that turned red when your posture was poor and green when it was good. It appears they’ve gotten rid of that functionality and replaced it with a posture exercise app.
Posture Mode should be built natively in our smartphone’s OS. This would allow for a more seamless experience that doesn’t require you to jump over to another app.
Additionally, Posture Mode should have the option to be aggressive. For someone who’s very serious about protecting their neck, Posture Mode should have the option to lock all actions on your device if you’re not in the right posture.
Realistically, all of our devices should find a way to build Posture Mode into the operating system. It would be a great health initiative.
The good old fashioned way of fixing posture still exists. Standing desks, monitor stands, back supports, back braces, footrests. These are all likely candidates for helping us at work.
Chiropractors have been diagnosing Texter’s Neck for years and treating it with behavioral changes.
There will never be a better time to be a chiropractor than in 10 years. The question, though, is can they handle this influx they’re going to get?
Ultimately, the responsibility lies in our own hands (until Apple takes a stand). For now, it’s our own poor habits. And if we know anything about habits, it’s that they have a compounding effect. This compounding effect, though, leads to painful neck problems and a guaranteed lower quality of life.