These days, students as young as elementary school are spending more and more time on the computer, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom. CD ROMS, the Internet, and a number of other computer-based programs make learning easier and more interactive for students of all ages.
However, spending a lot of time in front of the computer can be taxing, even for elementary school students. That’s why computer ergonomics are important for elementary school kids, just as for adults.
What are computer ergonomics?
Computer ergonomics involve adjusting the computer components, such as the monitor and work area, appropriately in order to reduce the strain it has on various parts of the body. This includes adjusting the computer and chair to certain heights and providing the necessary accessories to make typing and maneuvering the mouse more comfortable.
However, this can be difficult for elementary schools. Schools generally cannot afford to have different chairs and workstations for every grade level. When that’s the case, often younger elementary school students have to strain to look up at the screen, or older kids have to hunch or slouch in their chairs to see the screen.
This can have a number of negative effects, including:
ï‚§ Eye strain. If the monitor is too close or too far away, lighting poor, or the screen flickers or gives off glare, students could strain their eyes to see. This can result in headaches and other vision problems.
ï‚§ Back problems. Even elementary school students can develop back strain and problems if their chairs don’t give the proper back support.
Computer ergonomics for elementary school students
Even with a lack of resources, you can still follow ergonomic guidelines for elementary school students. The following are some tips for computer ergonomics for elementary school students. You can use these at school and also teach them to your students so they can practice them at home:
ï‚§ The eyes should be level with the text on the screen. Having the text eye level or slightly below helps to reduce strain not only on the eyes, but on the neck as well. Adjust the monitor or chair accordingly in order to accomplish this. If the chair isn’t adjustable, you can use a booster seat of some sort. In addition, if students are typing from papers, they should have a document holder that is the same height as the monitor, so they don’t have to keep glancing down.
ï‚§ The hands and wrists should be straight. The students’ hands and wrists should be parallel to the floor, not reaching up or down. If there is not a desk to rest hands on, make sure they have a chair with arms.
ï‚§ The feet and back should be supported. An elementary school student should never be seated on a stool to work at the computer. This provides no support for the back or arms, and rarely are stools level with desks. Instead, provide a chair with a back and arm support. The feet should also be supported too, so the students’ legs don’t hang if their feet don’t reach the floor. You can make a footrest out of almost anything, from a binder to a pile of books.
Computer ergonomics for elementary school students are important not only to provide a safe working environment, but to get students in good habits when it comes to working at the computer.