Technology – a pain in the neck for children and education practitioners (updated)

Hints and tips on back care

By Richard Fraser, Editor

Update: 5 February 2015:

Nursery World survey

16 April 2014:

Children are exposed to more technological gadgets but this can cause problems for their back health and future development. Lorna Taylor BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, MCSP, HPC, a specialist paediatric physiotherapist – who has been working with Voice on back health issues since 2010 – said:

“There’s no denying that technology helps us, but it’s important to consider good posture and safe practice when using it. This is particularly important for children and their growing spines.

“Schools and nurseries play a vital role in instilling good habits, and we all know children learn through observation. Flexed, curved postures should be limited for children and staff where possible. This is difficult in early years settings, but here are some things which can help”:

  • When sitting on the floor, encourage children to vary the position they sit in. 
  •   If using a hand-held device while sitting on the floor, raise it on some cushions to reduce stoop over the screen.
  •  Encourage children to have a sight check if they’re looking very closely at a screen.
  • Encourage children to lie on their tummy for some activities with a cushion or wedge supporting their chest. This will offer a good stretch out.
  • So children aren’t over-arching their necks to look up, ensure staff are sitting comfortably at a low level – for example on an ergonomically-designed chair – or kneeling with the support of a meditation bench, a cushion between the back of the leg and calf, or on a kneeler.
  • Physical activity and healthy movement are fundamental to back health, helping to build up muscle strength, maintain flexibility, improve circulation and remove toxin build-up from poor posture.
  • Use tablets that have a protective case with a stand, or raise the tablet up so it’s at an angle. Used on a flat desk, it will encourage an uncomfortable, flexed posture.
  • Best practice suggests using computers with the screen level with the top of the eyes. If using a laptop on a flat desk, raise the screen (on books or a stand) and use a separate keyboard.

Resources

Resources are for information and are not endorsed by Voice.

[From an article for the January 2014 Your Voice.] 

8 January 2014

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