A Chinese teenager has permanently damaged a part of her spine after spending excessive amount of time on her smartphone.
The 14-year-old girl from Qingdao in Shandong province can no longer keep her neck straight “because the alignment of the bones in her upper spine has been deformed,” according to the report by the China News Service (CNS).
The girl played with her phone almost all the time while she was awake, her father, who is a businessman, told the news agency. The only times she didn’t have her eyes on the screen was when she was at school or when she was sleeping.
She used to watch video live-streams and played video games all day.
Doctors examined the girl’s X-rays and discovered her condition, at 14, was similar to the one that occurs in people aged over 50.
A doctor told CNS the hospital had previously come across a similar case of 10-year-old boy whose spine was so severely damaged that he was unable to walk properly.
As alarming as the two cases are, the problem has become rather common, primarily because of excessive use of technology. For instance, teenagers in the United States spend about nine hours a day in front of a screen.
And the way and amount of time people, especially children, spend time staring at their gadgets is increasingly causing a health problem known as “text neck,” which could eventually lead to permanent damage, according to a 2014 research.
“Although our heads weigh between 10lb and 12lb, as we angle them down to look at our phones, the effective weight on our necks increases – at a 15-degree angle it is about 27lb rising to 60lb at 60 degrees,” Dr Kenneth Hansraj told The Guardian.
A British chiropractor in 2015 told The Telegraph “children as young as seven are developing hunchbacks and curved spines” due to text neck.