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Computers are not new to students, but laptops are. There is no way of knowing how the human body will respond to long hours behind a laptop computer. Some schools are pulling laptops that were issued to students but not because of back or wrist injuries. The laptops are being pulled because students are abusing the computers and using them for reasons other than furthering their education.
- Games and music
- Hacking into databases
- Physical damage to the computers
Training of the students and parents has shown to be productive prior to students receiving the laptops.
Executives and secretaries that have switched to laptops are finding wrist and arm fatigue is a problem. Carpal Tunnel is developing in those that are on laptops for a long length of time and day after day. Laptops can be used anywhere and are often used on table tops and desks. This forces the hands to be in a different position than sitting at a computer table. A 2000 study was released in Australia on students and laptops. 60% of students complained of back and neck pains on traditional computers.
Laptop Sales Up 25%
With the increase in sales of laptops, more complaints of injuries are expected. Prices of laptops are dropping making them more affordable for homes and schools. 12 year-old girls are going to doctors complaining of pains and diagnosed with nerve damage caused by slouching over laptop screens. Chiropractors are seeing more and more of these types of injuries.
Laptop for Laptop
When individuals actually use a laptop on their legs, new muscles are affected.
- leg (straining to hold up the laptop)
- spine (straining to hold legs at the correct angle)
- neck (bending down to get close to the screen)
Michael Durntall, a London chiropractor, has seen dozens of X-rays with joint degeneration in heavy laptop users. “I also see many people in their twenties and thirties with a dowager’s hump – a rounding at the base of the neck – after only a few years of looking down at a small screen while sitting slumped on a chair for long periods.” Chiropractors are warning of irretrievable damage to spines, necks and shoulders because of poor posture when using laptops.
Hand, Arm and Wrist
There is an increase in hand, arm and wrist pain in heavy users of laptops. Students often use laptops on bed tops or rugs. Commuters work on their way home on the train. Not sitting in a chair with the computer at the right height is taking a toll on users and many as young as ten or twelve.
With laptops accounting for 70% of computer sales in many regions, the problem is likely to increase in numbers and severity. And, with the virtual classes being offered in record numbers, users will need to improve posture or face damaging their spines. Schools will not only need to train students on how to use the computers but how to sit while they use them.