According to researchers at Cornell University, children in schools may face the same posture problems as adults in offices because of computer workstation designs–and the haste of school administrators trying to update their classrooms with computers may be to blame.
Researchers who watched 95 elementary schoolchildren from 11 schools found that students sat at keyboards and monitors placed higher than recommended. The results: craned necks, hunched shoulders, awkwardly placed wrists, and other unhealthy postures, said Shawn Oates, the principal author of the study.
In an interview with the New York Times, Oates said classroom computer setups need to be monitored closely because of the nationwide push to get computers into schools and the increasing amount of time children spend using them.
“We need to monitor the situation as we encourage children to use computers on a more frequent basis at home and school,” Oates told the Times.
Alan Hedge, a professor of human factors and ergonomics at Cornell and a co-author of the study, said he feared administrators were paying too little attention to safe design in their push to get technology into classrooms.
“We are trying to alert schools to the fact that when they are planning to include computer use, they should pay some attention to these kinds of issues,” he said.