One in five of the clients referred to Healthy Home Office by a physiotherapist are in their late teens or early twenties. They come to us with posture-related problems, mostly of the upper back and neck. We used to expect these musculo-skeletal problems in older office workers – but no longer.
This growing trend in young people is – or certainly should be – alarming on many levels. For example, the potential cost implications in terms of health care will come into play much earlier, and last 30-40 years.
The fact is, however, that the trend could be easily reversed with a little old-fashioned education.
Our children are aware of technology (an understatement, I know!) but completely unaware of the risks associated with it. The health issues mentioned above are the result of hunching for hours over computers, laptops, iPads, etc. Parents and schools present children with this technology – even require them to possess and use it – but give them no training on using it safely.
Once upon a time, the traditional typing class taught children to type without looking down constantly and thus causing neck strain. Today, we desperately need similar classes – plus, ICT should incorporate training on the health risks of technology, and the ways to mitigate these risks through movement, posture, and accessories like laptop stands and separate keyboards.
I’d love to find a handful of schools that would be interested in taking part in a study on this issue. We can’t turn a blind eye forever, yet those who understand the health risks of technology are very thin on the ground. Please get in touch if you have any views on this issue that you’d like to share – or any insight that might help us move it forward!