Computer use and your Child's Posture
Anyone who has used a computer for any length of time will know that back ache is a common problem and regular computer use can also lead to repetitive strain injury.If using a computer does this much damage to our fully developed bodies what is it doing to our children?
Skeletal DevelopmentOur skeletons are not fully developed until the late teens and until this point it’s important to try to train children to sit, stand and walk ‘properly’ to avoid doing damage that could become painful in later life. It’s not enough to just watch their posture when they’re at the computer it needs to carry through to all their activities – even watching the TV.
Chairs are ImportantWhen you add up the amount of time children spent sitting working, either at school or at home, on the computer or on paper it’s no surprise that choosing the right chair is important.
Ideally your child should be able to reach the floor easily when sitting. They should sit properly with their bottom pushed back into the seat of the chair so that their can be supported by the back of the chair.
Get them into the habit of sitting with their feet firmly planted on the floor about hip width apart. Sitting cross legged will curve the spine, kneeling will damage their knees and with their legs crossed (adult style) is bad for the blood circulation – for adults as well as children.
If you don’t have room for a separate computer set up (or have a shared desktop rather than laptop computer) find something for your child to use as a foot rest so their feet aren’t dangling.
Get the Right Set UpWhen you’ve got the right chair you need the right height table as well. When your child is sitting properly in their chair the desk should be at about elbow height so the child can rest their forearms on the table and easily use the keyboard.
For optimum use the screen should be 50cms away and tilted down at a 15 degree angle. For this reason a desk top is better than a lap top as it can be set up and left in place.A laptop’s flexibility, while great for busy people on the move, makes it too tempting to use in bed or in front of the telly which is where bad habits set in.
Set a Good ExampleGood posture isn’t something we’re born with and bad posture can be corrected (sit up, back straight, shoulders down and back, head up…) but teaching your child good habits early on will make their lives easier later on.
Set a good example by sitting properly when you use the computer. Keep your back straight and check that the computer is at the right height for you.If your child sees you slumping they aren’t going to take as much notice of your posture advice. And your back will thank you as well.