SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – For many children, texting can be a pain in the neck, literally.  

The reason? According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), children and adolescents are spending about five to seven hours a day on their smartphones and handheld devices with their heads flexed forward to read and text, which eventually leads to “text neck syndrome”.

Text neck syndrome refers to the onset of cervical spinal degeneration that results from the repeated stress of frequent forward head flexion while we look down at the screens of mobile devices and while texting for long periods of time.

“Neurologically speaking, when we’re looking down, our nervous system has that kind of increased tension through our spinal cord that isn’t normal,” said Dr. Bryson Custer, owner of Nero Energetics Spine & Sport in Savannah.

Dr. Bryson Custer

Text neck syndrome is more common in adolescents, who, for several hours a day and for several days a year, hunch over smartphones and personal computers more frequently than in the past. 

It is estimated that 75% of the world’s population is hunched over their handheld devices for hours daily with their heads flexed forward.

“I think that it’s just important that we have better boundaries surrounding our social media, our phones, our text messages.” said Custer. “Technically there is no such thing as bad posture. There is just a thing called unsupported postures for long periods of time.

“So, what we’ve kind of done with our kids, our 9-year-old, we said shift your postures when you play games, you know, you need to find a new posture.”

Custer also said the phones should be at eye level when being used.