Check out “Mindy,” the grotesque human of the future! She appears to have a few issues, right? You might be wondering where she came from (and why I am sharing her picture). She is the 3D representation of a “future human,” which shows how using technology too much could form some rather unattractive abnormalities.
A company called TollFreeForwarding collaborated with a 3D designer and researched the ways our bodies can change over time from overusing technology (mainly handheld devices). Mindy is supposed to be from the year 3000 (should we survive that long), but how many people do you know who are developing problems from too much tech right now?
Mindy first problems are her hunched back and “tech neck” from looking down at her device all of the time. The human skull typically weighs about twelve pounds, but once it’s at an angle (as it is when looking down at your phone), that weight can feel more like 30-45 pounds on your spine. Over time, your neck becomes strained and the shoulders hunch up.
Mindy also has a really attractive “text claw,” which comes from holding the phone in her hand while texting with her thumb. Keeping her arm at a 90-degree angle with device in hand strains the hand, wrist, and elbow causing “cubital tunnel syndrome” (inflammation of the ulnar nerve which passes through the elbow).
Researchers also think that her brain would be smaller and her skull would be thicker. The small brain comes from not having to think as much or struggle for survival as our ancestors did (brain size has reduced in the last 3,000 years). The thick skull is a result of her body protecting her from the radiation emitted by devices. People who started using such devices as adults have less exposure to radiation and fully formed skulls, but babies and children are at a higher risk and it is thought they might develop a thicker skull in a protective response. (I recently saw a women in a store with a baby no more than four months old with the phone propped up in the stroller.)
Lastly is Mindy’s horrific-looking third eyelid, which is thought to have developed in response to all of the blue light emitted from screens. Blue light causes the body and brain to be alert and think it’s daytime, which stops the production of melatonin and causes many problems with sleep (especially if you’re staring at your screen late at night or in the middle of
the night because you can’t sleep).
The article also pointed out another problem with Mindy that isn’t visible physically, which is her mental state. Tech usage with too much social media has shown to cause depression and anxiety. Staying inside and staring at devices instead of being outside in sunlight can contribute to more sleep problems and more mood issues.
This picture has haunted me over the past few months so I thought that diving right in and writing about it would be better than thinking about it all of the time. The majority of us in the modern world use the same technology that would cause all of these problems, and none of us will be giving it up. You might be thinking, “but that’s SO far into the future, we’re fine.” I’d like to believe that too, but how many times do you see people bent over their phones while waiting in line, at the doctor’s office, or even in their cars. How many kids (and babies, eek) do you see completely sucked in at the store on devices while their parents push them around in carts?
I can’t help but wonder if this is what Steve Jobs would have wanted, a man who celebrated sleek design and simplicity. Would he befriend Mindy with her altered body, or would they just use avatars and communicate electronically so they never see what the other looks like?
I want to add that I am not much better than anyone else. I try to be cognizant of how I hold my device and give myself breaks, I try not to use my phone constantly, and I don’t use it when I go to bed (except for an alarm, which in itself is a little problematic).
This post isn’t meant to preach or tell everyone what to do with their devices, but what causes me pause is Mindy’s appearance and how we can see people already starting to have her problems (from tech neck to text claw to posture issues, and compare and despair on social media). Who wants that? None of us, I’m sure. So let this post give you pause to think about your tech usage or your kids’ because no one wants to look like Mindy, especially if we are all going to have her haircut in the future!