What are digital devices doing to our posture?

smartphones posture neck

I have somewhat of a bad neck from an accident awhile ago, so I am fairly mindful about my neck and pain and strain. It’s no surprise that our ubiquitous technology affects our relation to the world, but less clear perhaps is how we are unwittingly training our own bodies around the devices that we use.

I’m interested more broadly in our physical relationship to our devices, and posture is such a habitual behavior that is well worth thinking about from time to time. For me, words like “hunch” or “slouch” just seem like the most appropriate verbs to characterise our physical postures in relation to our devices.

Amy Cuddy wrote this helpful piece at the New York Times, which is well worth a read if you can manage to do so in as ergonomically proper a way as you can manage: “Your iPhone Is Ruining Your Posture, and Your Mood

smartphones posture neck

Here’s an article with a few more fixes on the posture maladies we might be suffering with everyday: “Tech neck, texting thumb: Our bad tech habits leave us in pain. Here’s how to feel better.” And I know what you are thinking — yes of course there is an app for that.

digital devices our posture neck

The NHS Live Well website has a number of helpful tips on this: “Common posture mistakes and fixes.” After reading all of these things, I’ve made a concerted effort to start doing some stretches that really do help.

And for those of us so inclined, there are handy little devices to help us with that very problem, too. From Engadget: “A posture trainer works, if you want it to.


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I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

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