In or out of the classroom, young computer users need to know about proper posture and have their monitor and chair properly adjusted. The advice comes from the Association of Canadian Ergonomists (ACE) just as the children of
As far as the setup of the equipment is concerned, the ergonomics considerations for adults and children are similar, according to ACE Executive Director Margo Fraser in a recent article in the Toronto Star. She emphasized, however, that everything needs to be lower for kids. The adjustment includes making sure the computer monitor is at eye level and an arm’s length away.
"If you set it up for an adult it’s going to be way too high for a child so they’re going to be bending their neck backwards, putting a lot of stress on the neck," Fraser says. "The arm’s length is just sort of a starter guideline, but you really have to pay attention to the posture they’re using after that."
She recommends that they keep their wrists up and straight when they’re doing computer work and support their feet with a phone book, box or other footrest. And she says a height-adjustable chair is a good investment.
"At minimum, I really encourage people to try and go out and get one of the height-adjustable chairs, because that can help take a lot of the problems away," Fraser says. "Then they can use the chair to get the keyboard and mouse at the right height and just have to adjust the monitor height from there."
She recommends mini-keyboards that have no number pads so the mouse can be positioned closer to the child. Training a child to use the mouse with both hands shares the load, another option.