Kathy Moore: As a kid, my mom constantly told me to sit up straight and to have good posture. Nowadays, we call this ergonomics, and as parents, we need to watch our children’s posture, especially when they’re at the computer. This program will offer the basics of computer ergonomics for children. Technically speaking, ergonomics is the study of the relationship between workers and their environment. As more and more children use computers for extended periods, it’s important to help them achieve proper posture to prevent injury.
Good ergonomics starts with the chair. Kids need a chair that will get them to the proper height for working at a computer. Ideally, the chair will support their upper and lower back, and allow their feet to be firmly planted. We use an adjustable chair that provides support for all the crucial areas. If you do not have one of these, you can add a pillow to an adult chair to provide more support for the child’s back, and use a box or a stool for the footrest.
Pay attention to the height of the computer monitor. The monitor should be positioned so that your child’s eyes are about 2 feet from the monitor’s surface and equal to the top of the monitor. When it comes to using the keyboard, kids’ arms and hands should be in a neutral position. This means that their elbows should be relaxed at their sides, and not outstretched. If your child uses a mouse, encourage them to hold it close so they can keep their arms relaxed, and the wrist straight, and remind them to avoid holding the mouse tightly.
Overuse is perhaps the biggest cause of computer related injuries, so be sure your child takes frequent breaks from their time at the computer. Encourage them to get up and stretch, or do a few jumping jacks, at 30-minute intervals. It’s also important to set a good example for your children when you’re at the computer. Remember what your mom said and follow those rules of good posture, and try to take a break every now and then too.