Not only should parents be concerned about what their children are viewing on the internet, but also how they are sitting while in front of their computers. In today’s world, kids are spending many hours each day playing computer games, searching the internet or doing their homework on the PC. If the chair and computer are not set up properly, your child may develop a lifetime of poor posture.
A study published in Computers in Schools (1998, Vol.14, issue 3/4, pages 55-63) stated that elementary school children are at serious risk for posture problems because computer workstations are not designed for their reduced size. The research showed that of the 95 students from 11 different schools in New York State, none of the students scored within acceptable levels while working at their classroom computer stations. Forty percent of the third to fifth graders were at postural risk, while the other sixty percent fell under a category of some concern.
A few recommendations for your kids to avoid the risk of poor posture or repetitive strain injury caused by working on their computers are as follows:
- Monitor should be located directly in front of the body with the eyes directed at the upper one-third of the screen. For a child, raise the chair so that their eyes are at the correct level.
- Elbow should be at 80 to 100 degrees without bending wrists to rest on the keyboard. An adjustable keyboard tray, which can be lowered and angled for each individual user is a good investment.
- A good chair should support the back with knees resting two inches from the edge. Place a pillow behind the child’s back for support.
- Feet should reach the floor. If they don’t, a stool should be placed under the feet so that the knees are bent to approximately 100 degrees.
- Head and shoulders should be relaxed and neutral.
- Breaks should be taken every 20 to 30 minutes. Economy class syndrome, blood clots in the leg, have started to appear in people who sit in front of the computer all day without taking breaks.
Parents need to be more involved with their children’s posture to adjust their computer workstation correctly to prevent a lifetime of poor posture.