Hidden Dangers of Virtual Learning: How to Prepare a Workstation for Kids

During these unprecedented times, many schools in the US and worldwide are closed, forcing students and teachers to adapt to virtual learning. But, this can be very dangerous to a child’s health in general. Most of the schools that adopt this approach have provided families with laptops and (in some cases) tablets. As mentioned in our previous blogs, problems can arise from prolonged use of technology such as neck pain, back pain, elbow pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome. These same issues could affect children, depending on how much screen time they spend doing virtual learning. There could be long term implications on a child’s physical and mental wellbeing; for example, a poor computer set-up can lead to tendinitis (inflammation of tendons) along the wrist, forearm, and elbow. Poor posture can also lead to back pain and neck pain. A previous blog, “Home office Ergonomics,” mentioned the importance of setting up a proper workstation to work from home. A well-designed work station, paired with stretching and rest breaks, can help prevent neck pain and tendinitis in adults and kids.  

Parents/caretakers are doing their best to assist their children with virtual learning. Still, many are unconsciously ignoring the importance of creating a safe and comfortable digital workstation for their children. However, setting up a workstation for kids can be slightly more difficult due to their smaller size.

 Here are some quick tips to help make sitting in front of a computer more comfortable: 

• Keep your monitor at eye level, and place your keyboard close to your body. 

• Sit in a chair with back support to avoid slumping. 

• Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground, or use a footstool if your feet don’t reach the ground. 

Items to consider purchasing if your child is working with a laptop: 

• Laptop Kickstand. 

• Computer mouse and keyboard. 

• Headset.

 One should take this approach when setting up a child’s workstation for virtual learning. Don’t be afraid to get creative and use seat boosters and props. Yoga blocks make for an easy, non-permanent work station modification. But most importantly, remember that they are kids, and movement is by far the most important tip for your child. Taking regular rest periods away from the screen is essential for their health. Provide your child with active options during those rest periods. For example, jumping jacks, hula hoop, jump rope, going up and downstairs, or simply just walking. Try to add the fun factor to a routine and recognize their hard work.

REHAB AT WORK staff are ready to assist you and answer any questions in setting up a safe workstation for you and your child(ren). Or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, then contact one of our offices and schedule an appointment so we can help you feel better.

Article by Carlos Salinas

Helpful links:

Computer Workstation Checklist

Is Your Smartphone a Pain in the Neck?

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