Sometimes texts can hurt your feelings, because it's hard for tone to come through in writing, even with emoticons. Sometimes texting can hurt your friends' feelings, when you ignore the person who's with you to check for messages on your phone. But did you know that texting could hurt you physically and psychologically?
That's true, and it's not because you might step into an uncovered manhole if you text while walking and not paying attention. Steady texters can experience computer vision syndrome - dry eyes and blurry vision - the same as if they were staring at a monitor for hours. The characteristic posture of frequent texters, a slouch called "text neck" or "iHunch," can cause headaches and neck pain. You might be able to fix those with some ibuprofen, but some of the other consequences aren't as easy to fix.
Long-Term Physical Consequences
A study by chiropractors in the U.K. says texting can be as dangerous to health as obesity. Hunching over for long periods of time - like the two to four hours per day the average phone user spends bent over - can cause serious physical problems like reduced lung capacity and nerve degeneration. Besides text neck, you can develop texting thumb, where your fingers stay curled in. Fixing that can require cortisone injections or even surgery.
Long-Term Psychological Consequences
Slouching even has psychological consequences that go beyond annoyance when your mom tells you to stand up straight. Studies have shown that bad posture can actually cause lower self-esteem. Slouching can also cause you to focus on the negative rather than the positive; in one study, people who slouched recalled more negative words from a list than positive words from the list.
Stay Healthy While Texting
It's easy to avoid these problems without giving up your smartphone. Upgrade to a newer device with a larger screen, so you don't have to bend over as much to read it. Hold the phone higher, too, closer to eye level, which also eliminates the need for hunching over. You can also do exercises that reduce the chance for pain in your neck, like stretches or turning your head from side to side. The best way to stay healthy while texting, though, is to put the phone down for a while. Or maybe pick up the phone and actually talk to someone. That kind of social interaction is known to be good for your health.