Spending too much time on our mobile devices brings a slew of potential health problems, including worsening eyesight or disrupted sleep due to direct and prolonged blue light exposure from phone displays, or 'text claw', where users' fingers feel stiff and cramped after continuously using their phones.
However, a less well-known but no less serious impact of mobile phone usage would be the stress exerted on the neck.
A 14-year-old girl from Shandong, China is no longer able to straighten her neck as the bone alignment in her upper spine has been deformed, reported New Tang Dynasty Television.
Her neck was reported to be like that of a 50-year-old person's.
The girl's father said she spent all her free time on her mobile phone watching shows and playing mobile games, spending an average of five to six hours on the device every day. He had brought her to the hospital after she repeatedly complained of dizziness and soreness in her neck.
According to doctors, more and more people have been seeking treatment for similar neck conditions. Likening the neck to a spring, the doctors explained that prolonged bad posture, such as continuously looking downwards at a phone, will cause it to lose its flexibility and become stiff.
Read also: Few know about 'text neck'
New research has revealed that a 60-degree downward tilt of the head exerts 27kg of stress on the neck.
Experts said that such amounts of stress on the neck would cause the neck to experience higher rates of wear and tear and might result in a need for surgery.
In the case of the 14-year-old girl, doctors decided not to perform surgery on her after considering her young age. She has been discharged from hospital following treatment, but has been warned to only use her phone for up to two hours a day lest her neck condition relapse, reported the China News Service.
The girl's father expressed regret that he had not restricted her phone use more, and hoped his daughter's situation would serve as a warning to other parents.
Also read: 5 tips to prevent painful 'text neck'