Ergonomics isn’t just for the over twenty set. In fact, with more and more children relying on electronic devices for their homework, classroom activities, social lives, and entertainment, imparting good ergonomics for kids is absolutely essential. After all, many injuries associated with the use of electronic devices are due to repetitive strain, and the younger a child is when they begin interacting with these devices, the more time they have to develop an RSI.
In helping your child to avoid injury, there are four main factors to consider.
If telling your child to maintain good posture throughout the school day brings to mind images of young ladies in finishing school walking carefully across rooms with a pile of books on her head, you’ve actually got the right idea. While children needn’t maintain quite so rigid posture, it’s important that they sit up in their chairs with the soles of their feet resting naturally on the ground. A chair with good lumbar support will help support this. Additionally, it’s also important to avoid those bad postures that children so easily slip into. This means no lying on the ground dangling a tablet over their noses, kneeling, leaning against a wall or slouching. The annoyance of sitting up straight now will save them years of pain down the line.
Computer screens should always remain about an arm’s distance away, and should be kept at such a height that your child’s neck strains neither up nor down. A good laptop or tablet stand can help you achieve the right position. It’s best to limit screen time to no more than two hours a day and to encourage your child to take frequent breaks. This will help prevent the development of computer vision syndrome (CVS) and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and will also keep your child physically active.
Another way to prevent CVS as well as the deterioration of your child’s vision is to ensure their homework and entertainment spaces are always amply lit and far away from any windows or lamps that can create glare. An anti-glare screen can also prove helpful. In general, it’s best to go with a light that casts more of a yellow or orange hue to mimic natural lighting and avoid any circadian disruptions.
The increased use of headphones has wreaked havoc on our hearing, and the risks are even higher when children go unsupervised. As such, it’s important to limit the volume so that it is no more than 60 percent of the maximum allowed. Alternatively, search for child-friendly headphones, which do this limiting automatically.
Just a few measures will help your child make the most of electronic devices without risking their health. For more great tips, we highly recommend reading the following PDF entitled, Technology and Ergonomics: A Guide for Parents.
How do you help your child safely navigate the devices they use for schooling and entertainment purposes? Let us know your best tips in the comments below.