In the UK, 40% of 11 to 16 year olds have already suffered from back or neck pain which in most cases is a direct result of using a laptop, tablet or computers combined with carrying heavy schoolbags and not getting enough exercise.
This scary statistic really does sum up the importance of teaching kids good habits and how to achieve proper ergonomic posture to prevent injury when using computers for extended periods.
If children and adults in your home share the same computer workstation it is important to make certain that the workstation can be modified for each child’s use. Computer workstations that don’t fit a child’s body during the developing years can have harmful physical effects that can last a lifetime.
Computer Ergonomics for Kids:
- The chair should fit the child correctly. An ergonomic back cushion, pillow or a rolled-up towel can be placed in the small of the child’s back for added back support. There should be two inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of the knees. If possible the computer chair should have arm supports so that the forearms are supported..
- Position the computer monitor so the top of the screen is at the child’s eye level. This can be done by taking the computer off its base or stand, or having the child sit on firm pillows or phone books to reach the right height. Also make sure there is adequate lighting to reduce eye strain.
- The computer mouse should be close to the keyboard and close to the edge of the table to prevent the child from sitting with an outstretched arm. Wrists should be held in a neutral position while typing and not angled up or down.
- The child’s knees should be positioned at an approximate 90 to 120 degree angle. And the legs should not be dangling but rather the feet should be placed on a foot rest, box, stool or similar object for support.
- Limit your child’s time at the computer and make sure he or she takes regular breaks every 45min during computing time.
- Your child’s muscles need adequate hydration to work properly and avoid injury. Encourage your child to drink at least four 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Carbonated beverages, juices and other sweet drinks are not a substitute.
- Also get in touch with the child’s school to make sure good workstations are in place and education on correct computer ergonomics is a priority.
Keeping your back strong and supple is the best way to avoid getting back pain. Regular exercise, maintaining good posture and lifting correctly will all help prevent future problems.