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Edited by - Article ID: 49

Are you using your computer safely?

Most jobs in the modern world require people sit in front of laptops and computers for long periods of time. And, what’s more, most of us also like to relax at the end of a long day in front of our laptops and computers at home. Whilst a necessary part of modern existence, sitting in front of a computer for any length of time can, in fact, be detrimental to a person’s health in many ways.

Man, as with all other animals, evolved in accordance with the natural world, and was thus not built to spend endless hours every day sitting in front of an electronic device. Below, we list just some of the health risks an individual faces when using a computer, and the actions that can be taken to help diminish their severity:

1. Obviously, typing on a computer or laptop requires the use of your hands and arms. Some people are capable of typing so fast that it is almost second nature. However, such repetitive activity over a long period of time can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition which squeezes the nerve in your wrist responsible for both moving your thumb and sending signals from your fingers to your brain. How then can this condition be avoided? Though there is no concrete way of avoiding the condition, experts suggest several ways in which you can diminish the pressure placed on your hands. Among other things, they advise taking frequent breaks from repetitive activities such as typing, working in a warm environment to avoid hand stiffness and paying attention to your posture whilst sitting in front of your computer or laptop. Slouching in front of computer shortens a person’s shoulder muscles which, in turn, places pressure on the nerves in their neck; pressure which can adversely affect their fingers and hands.

2. Secondly, long term use of a computer or laptop can cause headaches. Trying to focus on a bright screen for hours on end every day can lead to both migraines and headaches. There are several ways such problems can be averted. Experts advise adjusting the brightness of your screen to suit your personal preferences and, (strange though it sounds,) remembering to blink. To illustrate: when you are engaged in an important computer task you often stare so intently at your screen that you forget to blink regularly. Such behaviour, over long periods, can lead to eye strain and, thus, headaches. Similarly, remember to take regular breaks from staring intently at your computer, (even if, in the course of a busy working day, they only involve looking away from your screen for a minute or two.)

3. A person’s back and neck can also be adversely affected by long periods in front of a laptop or computer. Sitting in the same position, (especially a slumped position) for any length of time can be bad for the spine. As with avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome, experts advise paying attention to your posture, for example, sitting properly, with your feet as anchors. Equally, they also suggest frequently standing up, (perhaps every hour or so,) as such action provides an opportunity to alleviate spinal tension caused by sitting.

These links provide useful information on how to use your computer or laptop safely: