Please, reconsider your smartphone habits

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article about smartphone habits.

I know, most people don’t write novels on their smartphones. (Although, of course, a few do.)

But the rest of us use smartphones for reading. (My fave app? The digital New York Times.) And for texting our friends, kids and partners. But after hearing about the work of New York spinal surgeon Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, I’m reconsidering my habits.

In a paper in the journal Surgery Technology International, Hansraj writes:

An adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position. As the head tilts forward, the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees.

And look at the photos (above)! That last one, with the 60-degree tilt, could be me. The threat is twofold, actually. First, the posture stresses our spines and neck muscles, which could eventually lead to surgery. (Who wants that? Not me!) Second, it leads to a closed-off posture that social psychologists — such as Amy Cuddy — tell us is damaging our self-confidence.

If you’re a writer, the last thing you need is back problems or difficulties with self-confidence. Stop yourself from hunching over your smartphone!