At least 70% of Australia’s school students use computers. As a result of this increased usage, more young patients are suffering from the effects of working at computer stations that are either designed for adults or poorly designed for children. Many children are already suffering from repetitive movement injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and
chronic pain in the hands, back, neck and shoulders.
Your back has 3 natural curves, cervical, thoracic and lumbar; they rely on proper posture to maintain these normal curves. Good posture remains crucial from childhood into adulthood. Proper spinal alignment allows your spine to function normally.
When the three curves aren’t supported properly, the muscles and ligaments must compensate. This puts abnormal strain on joints and soft tissues.
Emphasis needs to be placed on teaching children how to properly use computer workstations. Poor work habits and computer workstations that don’t fit a child’s body during the developing years can have harmful physical effects that can last a lifetime.
To reduce the possibility of your child suffering painful and possibly disabling injuries we’d suggest the following tips:
If children and adults in your home share the same computer workstation make certain that the workstation can be modified for each child’s use. Position the computer monitor so the top of the screen is at or below the child’s eye level. This can be accomplished by using a desk chair with adjustable height or by having the child sit on firm pillows to reach the desired height.
Make sure the chair at the workstation fits the child correctly. An ergonomic back cushion, or a rolled-up towel can be placed in the small of the child’s back for added back support. There should be 2 inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of the knees.
The child’s knees should be positioned at an approximate 90 degree angle. To accomplish this angle, feet can be placed on a foot rest or box. The chair should have arm supports so that elbows are resting at an approximate 90 degree angle to the computer keyboard.
Reduce eyestrain by making sure there is adequate lighting and that there is no glare on the screen. Use an anti-glare screen if necessary.
Constantly looking down at laptops, tablets and mobile phones is seriously affecting the posture of today’s children.
Additionally, postural abnormalities in adolescent years have been recognised as one of the main sources of pain syndromes and early arthritis in adulthood. Therefore, posture should be checked and corrected in children before more serious problems can occur.
Limit your child’s time at the computer and make sure he or she takes periodic stretch breaks during computing time. Urge your child’s school to provide education on correct computer ergonomics and to install ergonomically correct workstations.