In August of 2006, Science Daily published an online article that explained children are at a high risk for developing repetitive strain injuries from sitting at their computers all the time. Children and teens are sitting properly or in a manner, which will help them avoid injury. Poor posture and incorrect positioning of the keyboards makes matters worse!
A survey was completed of 500 children back in 2006 and the study found that most children were spending too much time on their home computers, which was resulting in repetitive strain symptoms usually seen in adults. According to ergonomist Robin Mary Gillespie, a child who uses the computer on a daily basis is more likely to develop symptoms and the kind of disability normally seen in adults.
The survey of 500 people, included children between the ages of 12 and 18-years-old. The most common complaint of these children, who were all daily computer users, was neck and shoulder pain. Some tips to avoid this type of injury or pain is to keep the mouse close to the body and to put a bridge over the number keypad so that the mouse is positioned closer to the user. A monitor that is positioned too high for a child may also cause injury, so it is important to keep the monitor positioned lower. Kids should also be using a chair that has the adjustable height feature on it, so that the chair can be repositioned if the monitor cannot.
According to Gillespie, laptop users should be using an external keyboard and a mouse control to help ensure proper distance between the screen and the keyboard. Avoid bending hands, which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and do not use the little feet on the keyboard. Gillespie also recommends that avid computer users take a break every 20 minutes or so.
Some final tips, which are provided by RSIHelp.com is the suggestion that parents reduce overall exposure to computers as much as possible for their children. Parents can do this by monitoring how often children are on the computer, avoiding the purchase of videogames and encouraging children to use the telephone or speak to individuals in person instead of using e-mail constantly. At this time, experts do not know how much time is too much time for computer users, however, some believe injury can occur in as little as two hours of use (RSIHelp). Children often do not complain of pain or other symptoms of RSI, so parents should be on the lookout for non-verbal signs, such as headaches (from looking at the monitor too long), children who are massaging their necks, forearms or wrists or if the child seems to be dropping things repeatedly. RSIHelp warns that laptop use may be even worse, because they cannot be adjusted like personal computers or desktops can be.