The Demanding Smartphone That Changes You (See the X-Ray!)

A creative teacher tried an experiment with one of her classes. Her experiment “broke the internet” and gives us a window into the demands that a smartphone places on a teen. For one class period she had her students turn on their volume and they tallied a collective record of the notifications they received in a single class period. The image is the picture of this tally.

Oh! My! Goodness!

What’s a parent to do because this is definitely going to have an effect on the development of teens? The demand…the interruptions…the nonsense information…how to discern what is important and what is noise…the influence of the noise…the pressure to respond or not to respond… How does a teen navigate that?

They don’t, they just respond not realizing the overall impact on them.


Then there is this breaking medical news to try and figure out. New research in biomechanics suggests that young people are developing hornlike spikes at the back of their skulls. Bone spurs which are caused by the forward tilt of the head, which shifts weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head, causing bone growth in the connecting tendons and ligaments. The result is a hook or hornlike feature jutting out from the skull, just above the neck.

Photo from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.

Researchers believe that the prevalence of the bone growth in younger adults points to shifting body posture brought about by the use of modern technology. They say smartphones and other handheld devices are contorting the human form, requiring users to bend their heads forward to make sense of what’s happening on the miniature screens.

You can read more about the research at source.

As frightful as our physical bodies actually changing to adapt to technology, are you really that surprised? I believe we are only beginning to see the lifetime effects of living with all of this technology.

So, parent, how do you handle this weird bad scary news about those devices that have invaded your family? There is clearly good to them and there is bad. You are in the middle of navigating this culture changer without the wisdom of older parents who didn’t have to navigate this. You have permission to feel intimidated. But still navigate anyway. Teach your teen to have the necessary boundaries for this demanding device. As you are learning to navigate this yourself. Give words to your teen about what you are learning. About what you have learned. About your concerns. About how to delete apps. Ask your teen to also teach you what he/she is learning.

You can do this. Fact is, you have to do this. We are in unknown territory which this means God will surely equip you with wisdom as you lean not on your own understanding. Parents have navigated culture shapers for generations and have passed on much wisdom. Now it is your turn. You can do this.

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