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A report from The Washington Post discovered that looking down at phones could cause an abnormal bone growth that resembles a horn at the base of the neck of many young people.

In a 2016 study, 41% of the 218 16- to 30-year-olds studied had lumps on the backs of their necks that research suggests is caused by looking down — like at a phone — for extended periods of time. 

It's important, however, to note that correlation does not always equal causation, and the study has some questionable tactics for getting to this conclusion. For one, the researchers didn't study the subject's phone use, according to Business Insider's counter article

So before you start panicking and feeling the back of your neck for a bump, relax. Ultimately, this study hypothesized that the "horn" came from poor posture and not the evils of technology. And, according to a statement, one of the author's of the study shared that the issue can be corrected quite simply. 

There are plenty of negative psychological side effects already proven with extended phone use that haven't deterred many people from continuing to stare down at screens. Perhaps the fear of a sprouting horn is just what it'll take. 

The Washington Post first shared the story.

In the story, the research reveals that these bone spurs, or growths, can extend on the base of the neck due to bad posture. After publishing the study, scientist Dr. David Shahar revealed these findings were alarming because of the young age of the participants. This is evidence that the skeleton is shifting and adapting to the structure of our lives, and it's most likely that an increase in phone use in the past two decades has contributed to that. 

"These findings were surprising because typically they take years to develop and are more likely to be seen in the ageing population," he said in the statement.

Other news outlets tried to debunk some of the claims made in The Washington Post article. 

The New York Times wrote a piece further explaining how poor posture is to blame. In a tweet the newspaper wrote it declared, "Besides making us rude and inattentive, are smartphones also warping our skeletons? A study suggests too much time hunched over screens can lead to horn-like bumps in the skull. Experts don't totally buy it." 

The NYT interviewed the chairman of neuroscience at a New York hospital, Dr. David Langer, to get his take on the viral fear. "You’re more likely to get degenerative disc disease or misalignment in your neck than a bone spur growing out of your skull," he said. “I haven’t seen any of these, and I do a lot of X-rays. I hate being a naysayer off the bat, but it seems a little bit far-fetched... Head horns? Come on."

Another story was published by Business Insider and shared by one of its editors. 

"No, you probably don't have a cell phone horn," deputy editor Ariel Schwartz wrote in a tweet along with the story. The story satiated fears that phones were causing irreparable horn-like physical damage to people. Instead, when they spoke to experts, they discovered that while poor posture is linked to some protuberances or bone spurs — a pointed outgrowth of bone —  it can also be easily corrected. Whew. 

Some people feel the horn theory is similar to past fears of technology, and a few tweets made fun of the claim. 

One person imagined a relatable conversation someone could have with an old-fashioned parent. "'Mooommm I grew a horn :(' 'It’s cause u on that phone'" the tweet says. Other people compared it to the old myths that if you stare at the TV too long your eyes could fall out. And, of course, parents always warned that if you watched too many movies or shows or played too many video games your brain could turn to "mush."

Some people questioned the logic behind phones being to blame as reading a book requires the same positioning in the neck. 

One person replied to the article, "To bad we didn’t study this in kids who were avid readers back in the day. Wouldn’t the head be down the same way to read a book?" A more accurate description of the research is that bones can shift due to extended poor posture. Someone else responded, "Most 'readers' probably weren't reading with the frequency that people use their cell phones today." 

These comments are valid questions to come up from the research that apparently didn't even study the subjects phone usage, according to the Business Insider article. Further more invasive research would need to be done to fully determine the legitimacy of this claim. 

Whether or not you're worried about growing a protuberance, maybe it's time to put that phone down for a little while. 

One person felt especially strongly about it all and posted this gif of a man flinging his phone against the wall. Even if I'm not sprouting a horn at the base of my neck, I can relate to the desire to get rid of technology altogether. Bone growths are just one of the potential risks of extended phone-use. Some psychological issues and even phone addiction have been discovered as well. 

Ultimately you'll just need to correct your posture and do some exercises to avoid a horn-like bump. 

If you immediately reached back and touched your neck feeling for a new horn and did feel a bump, don't panic. According to the New York Times the back of your neck already has "a slight, normal bump that’s easy to feel."

One reader took to Twitter to share their improved posture after seeing the story. "Who else tried to read the article with their head more upright?" they asked in a tweet. 

If this story does anything, hopefully it improves the posture of the country or gets people to put their phones down for an extra hour or two a day.