Proper Computer Usage Techniques Prevent Long-Term Injuries in Children
By Amanda Edsell, OTR/L
Kids and computers are as synonymous as peanut butter and jelly. Whether it''s surfing the net, playing games, chatting online, or doing homework, kids today are using computers more than ever before. With such extensive usage comes the possibility of significant and long-term strain or injury to their fingers, hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, back and eyes.
According to a study by professor Peter Buckle, of the Robens Centre for Health Ergonomics at the University of Surry, UK, computer furniture, keyboards and mice do not account for the size and needs of children. He states that children are at significant risk for repetitive strain injury since their bones and muscles are still developing. In his study of 2,000 children ages 11-14, 36 percent suffered from serious, ongoing back pain, and are more likely to suffer these injuries as adults.
The American Physical Therapy Association states it expects to see an increase in the number of repetitive stress injuries in children in the coming years from computer use. The exposure to ergonomic risk hazards for children is expected to be higher than it would be for adults because of the sheer amount of time that children on computers at home and at school.
As an occupational therapist with Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team, I frequently school adults in appropriate workstation ergonomics after there is already a problem; however, parents can work with their children to prevent these problems from ever occurring. The best way to begin is by making sure the computer station fits your child. In many cases, children are using furniture and equipment fit for adults and ill-fitted for children. For proper fit, your child should be able to sit with his or her feet flat against the floor and back against the chair, with the keyboard easily accessible.
Here are several tips to retrofit adult computer stations, making them just right for kids:
Kid Size Your Computer Work Station
Once the computer station is fit to the child, practice these tips for computer success:
Techniques For Proper Computer Usage
Prevention is so important; who has not heard the saying that, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? If we can get kids to start implementing these good habits now, not only will they avoid injuries and strains in the short term, but they will be less likely to suffer from any long term problems as adults. It''s all about prevention and establishing good habits.
|Copyright© 2004-2006 Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine. All Rights Reserved. |
No unauthorized duplication of any articles, graphics or other content without express written permission from KHF.
Site produced and maintained by interon design, inc.