It’s called Gameboy Disease
“As a physician, I noticed my kids were playing in very abnormal positions for prolonged hours of time…”
When Vancouver-based doctor Vahid Sahiholnasab noticed his kids were developing bad posture, it was enough to get him digging into what was happening
“So it has many different names, but we kind of collected it into one specific name – Gameboy Disease. It’a basically a combination of poor posture, neck pain, back pain, headache, vision problems, and mood issues.”
Depending on who you talk to, the problem could go by ‘Gameboy Back’ or ‘tech neck’.
Either way, chiropractors and doctors will tell you it’s an increasing problem, possibly even an epidemic.
“It’s becoming more of an epidemic between the ages of 20 and 40.”
Strain is harder on the developing body
A human head weighs about 12 pounds on average, but craning over your smartphone increases the pressure on your neck to up to 60 pounds.
Vahid says that increase in strain is especially hard on kids as their bodies develop.
“There hasn’t been any large studies to now. But we’re thinking about one third of the kids could be having Gameboy Disease.”
Enter the Eyeforcer
“I’m holding onto a pair. It’s a blue colour. They look like glasses without lenses. And then they have a funny sort of thick bar on the outer side that has some technology in them. I’m gonna put them on. Apparently they look pretty cool.”
Vahid developed the Eyeforcer to function with tablets.
“Without the Eyeforcer, the kid cannot function with the tablet. As soon as you turn on the tablet, it’s going to ask you to pair it with your Eyeforcer.”
Designed to monitor the position of your head
“So we are monitoring the position of the upper spine. So if the kid has abnormal posture, the wearable device is sending data to the tablet. It will be recognized, and it will give some warnings. After 5 warning, if the child ignored the warnings, it will basically shut down their games.”
Symptoms of Tech Neck
The soft tissue structures, the muscle, the ligaments, get stretched out.
- Abnormal pressure on the different parts of the bone and the disc inside the neck.
Developed for kids from 3 to 12, but adults are clamouring for it
The idea is to prevent spinal damage and instill good posture before kids hit their teen years.
But when the technology made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, people weren’t just asking for their kids.
“90 per cent of the people who came to our booth were asking for this device for adults.”
Early days of development
The Eyeforcer is not available to consumers yet, and the founders are still looking for the best way to bring it to retailers.
In the meantime, chiropractors suggest a more low-tech way to treat your Gameboy Disease.
Hold your phone a little higher, keep your shoulders in line with your ears…and come on guys, stop slumping.