Children's Postures While Playing at Computer Workstations
Murphy, Carol Anne
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There has been a significant increase in the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and the costs associated with these are predicted to increase as the popularity of computer use increases at home, school and work. Risk factors have been identified in the adult population but little is known about the risk factors for children and youth. Research has demonstrated that they are not immune to this risk and that they are self reporting the same pain as adults. The purpose of the study was to examine children’s postures while working at computer workstations under two conditions. One was at an ergonomically adjusted children’s workstation while the second was at an average adult workstation. A Polhemus Fastrak™ system was used to record the children’s postures and joint and segment angles were quantified. Results of the study showed that children reported more discomfort and effort at the adult workstation. Segment and joint angles showed significant differences through the upper limb at the adult workstation. Of significance was the strategy of shoulder abduction and flexion that the children used in order to place their hand on the mouse. Ulnar deviation was also greater at the adult workstation as was neck extension. All of these factors have been identified in the literature as increasing the risk for injury. A comparison of the children’s posture while playing at the children’s workstation verses the adult workstation, showed that the postural angles assumed by the children at an adult workstation exceeded the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) recommendations. Further investigation is needed to increase our knowledge of MSD in children as their potential for long term damage has yet to be determined.