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Image / Editorial

Quick, find the house phone! Your mobile is, literally, giving your horns


by Colette Sexton
12th Jul 2019

Expression of shock, excitement and amazement on face of perfectly looked, young, beautiful woman with old fashioned, red phone in her hand.. Extremely surprised facial expression. Pin-up style make up, hairstyle and red manicure.

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Retro phone calls

Take a minute to think about how technology has changed how we connect…and given us skull horns


Now I am not one to exaggerate, but it turns out that your phone is turning you into the devil. I know, it is shocking and hard to believe, but it is true.

We are growing horns out of our skulls because of our phone usage. Well, that is according to a study in the Scientific Reports journal, which found bone spurs between a third of an inch to more than an inch long on the back of the skulls of those aged between 18 and 30.

The (hotly disputed) study blamed “sustained aberrant postures associated with the emergence and extensive use of hand-held contemporary technologies, such as smartphones and tablets”.

Skull horns

Basically, it suggested being hunched over our phones is causing an increase in these little skull horns, and it is making our necks settling into an abnormally bent position.

“I still know all my school friends’ home phone numbers off by heart, even though none of them have lived in those houses for over a decade.”

For those of us that grew up in the 1990s and 2000s, these kind of news stories give us a pang for the days of yore.

Back in our day, there was no such thing as iPhones or Instagram. Instead we had to contend with the house phone.

Related: Remember the Barry’s Tea ads of old?

The trusty apparatus that never let us down. Except when your mother was on the phone for several hours and you needed to make an urgent phone call to your best friend to discuss how your secret crush glanced at you in the school canteen.

I still know all my school friends’ home phone numbers off by heart, even though none of them have lived in those houses for over a decade now.

The treachery of having the phone usually placed in a communal family area, like the hallway or the kitchen, meant everyone in the family knew your super secret teenage business, and often meant inventing code names for various people and places. Our generation were forced to be very creative.

13cent per message

As mobile phones became a thing, we were more connected to our peers but it was at a cost. A literal cost – it was 13 cent per text message.

Someone had to be really special if you were going to put your money where your mouth was and text them back. This meant we were forced to become excellent sub-editors, ensuring every message was composed to an exact number of characters so it was not counted as two texts, costing us double the price.

“We used to value those 13 cent messages, and only sent important ones. Now we expect instant responses and we have to be always on.”

The bonus was that if someone kept hassling you for not responding to them, you could just say you had no credit.

Nowadays communication is constant. In some ways, this is wonderful. It means we are able to stay in touch with loved ones whether they are in a different room in the same house or on a different continent. But in other ways, it is a pain.

We used to value those 13 cent messages, and only sent important ones. Now we expect instant responses and we have to be always on, attached to our phones like they are a vital organ.

Game of Snake

We not only had more freedom with the good old “dumb phones”, they also brought us the game of Snake. Forget your virtual reality and Ultra HD, if you were on a high level on Snake, even with its basic graphics, you had serious street cred – although you might now have arthritis.   

“While skull horns don’t exactly sound insta-friendly, they’ll probably catch on.”

Even when we started to secure our own mobiles, the house phone remained a point of contention when you absolutely needed to update your top 16 friends on Bebo, but one of your siblings was on the house phone so you had to patiently wait (read: scream at them) until they ended their call and you could use the dial-up connection.

Kids today will never know the grating sound of the dial-up. Technology has moved on, and so must we. And while skull horns don’t exactly sound insta-friendly, they’ll probably catch on.

Maybe an influencer will invent some kind of unicorn highlighter kit for horns and all the kids will want one, while we shake our heads, think “kids today” and wonder if there is an app that could bring back original Snake.

Featured image: Getty


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