The use of tablets is increasing, seemingly steadily replacing laptops. Tablets are lightweight and portable providing users with the flexibility to use them anywhere. This means that we now have people who use them in bed, in front of the television, on the train, even whilst walking.
Every piece of equipment we use, every posture we assume, has a different impact on our bodies. Tablets are potentially more harmful to your health than either laptops or desktops. As they will more often be used in positions where your posture is bad for your health.
During a six month period, I captured my son in 27 postures he naturally assumed whilst using our tablet and here are the results:
- He assumed a wide variety of postures (most of them inappropriate).
- He occasionally used the cover-stand, other times using cushions to support the tablet.
- He used the tablet socially with parents, grandparents and liked to be where an adult was whilst browsing, this is probably so that we could choose a new item on you-tube for him!
If you adopt an awkward posture this can result in discomfort, which can build up over time. For example, if you use your tablet on your lap, you are looking down. This puts stress on the neck muscles, far more than someone who uses a traditional computer at a workstation.
Judging from observation people naturally don’t seem to apply the same thinking to their tablet use. Ergonomic risks are not new to computer users, first the desktop computer. Then the laptop and now the ever-increasing popularity of tablets means new kinds of health risks.
Top Tips for Healthier Tablet Use
Either apply the following or teach the following to your children:
- Be aware of your posture and avoid poor postures eg ‘the vulture’.
- Consider where you place or how you hold your tablet.
- For tasks such as answering emails, then treat your tablet like a PC.
- For reading or gaming treat your tablet like a book.
- The recommended angle for viewing and touch interaction is ~30°
- For watching a movie consider placing it on a table, near vertical.
- Buy a tablet case (see below) that has a stand that allows you to prop it up at various angles.
- If possible, when writing for long periods use a separate keyboard, or even better, use your desktop.
- For extended use, consider using at a workstation with an office chair, with external keyboard etc..
- Tap lightly on the screen (excessive force puts strain on your fingers, wrist and forearm).
- Maintain a clean touchscreen, sometimes difficult, some screen protectors offer a degree of protection.
- Be aware of glare, positioning the screen at a right angle to windows and away from overhead lighting.
- Avoid eye strain by making the font larger when possible, make sure your tablet has a sharp resolution and the correct level of contrast and brightness for the environment.
- Vary your posture (every 15-30 minutes) and take regular breaks away from your tablet.
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Conclusion: 27 Child Postures Assumed During Tablet Use
What is your experience of the postures your child assumes during tablet use? Do you have any useful advice to give? Having read through my discussion on tablet use, why not read electronic games, child’s play, but should they be? Please let me know if you have any other suggestions, thoughts or opinions, based on your experiences? Let me know and I will add them to my post here on ergonomi… and if you like my article then please sign up to my newsletter below, or you can contact me directly on my contact page.