WE know about ergonomics in the workplace, have you ever thought about your children on their devices and school. How many hours do they spend on these devices, in awkward positions?
When workstations aren’t set up properly, workers develop MSD’s (musculoskeletal disorders), and workers start displaying chronic pain, and maybe you have this issue now. Adjustments can be made to screens and keyboards together with a fully adjustable chair can often eliminate problems, in conjunction with staff following good posture and exercise practices.
MSD’s are painful disorders affecting tendons, muscles, nerves and joints in the neck upper and lower back, chest, shoulders, arms, and hands. Repetitive strain (RSI) injuries may take years to develop and recovery can be difficult and may require surgery. Worker’s Compensation claims and disability costs have driven employers to minimize the risks with ergonomics and properly designed workstations that meet ergonomic standards along with frequent breaks.
How do our children interact with their desks, and devices at home and school?
Children play computer games or surf the Net for hours at a time with hardly any breaks. Have a look to see how your children’s posture is when they view monitors, hold personal devices close to their eyes (I was told to sit back from the TV, it will hurt my eyes) and in awkward postures. How is their neck bent in the “text neck” posture? tech-neck-or-text-neck.html This affects their necks, arms, hands and eyes which is similar to being at work with an improperly set up or inadequate equipment. What about at school where one-size fits all? MSD’s aren’t limited to computer devices; some sports or musical instruments can lead to injury.
Children aren’t immune to the improper set up of workstations, or prolonged computer use; doctors and physiotherapists are seeing more children with MSD related symptoms.
It’s important to remember that children are small humans that are and will be spending more time on devices, so proper setups, breaks and physical activity are the best at mitigating MSD related injuries.
Some questions to think about:
What is the work space at home like, is it the couch, kitchen table? How long are they spending on the devices at home in awkward postures? This applies to all who are using these work spaces within the home. Compared to your office setup, how does your home station measure up? Are you and your children working off a laptop, with your head bent down, straining your neck?
Mindful Tips for all of us on devices
Proper posture, breaks, physical activity and adjustable workstations/desks are recommended and alternatives at home you can move from the couch, the kitchen table, to the counter. This provides variation of movement and different postures. Physical activities is the best, breaks are recommended every 30-60 minutes away from the computer, this gives our eyes a rest, and our bodies.
Take control of how long your child is on these devices (same rule for you too). Limit usage to 30 minutes, look at your child’s posture, lead by example, and get involved at their school.
The Canada Safety Council recommends applying what is known about adult ergonomics to children.
Here are a couple of links for further information.
I SEE YOU, I HEAR YOU, YOU ARE IMPORTANT!