The Proper Posture For Tablet Use Is The Same For Nearly Everything Else You Do

by TeachThought Staff

We’ve been hearing for years how smartphone technology causes (insert scary sounding ailment here).

The same with living under power lines, standing too close to the microwave, and eating lead paint. The long-term impact of such phenomena are unclear, but what is absolutely certain is that ergonomics matter. Neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain, cysts, and other trouble aren’t just bothersome, but can be entirely debilitating. For students growing up with iPads in their laps and smartphones glued to the palms of their hands, this is worth understanding.

This is important for anyone, but for students growing up with iPads in their laps and smartphones glued to the palms of their hands, this is even more critical.

The following infographic compiled from studies at Harvard and Stanford Universities, among other sources, looks at this issue. Their findings echo traditional ergonomic recommendations in terms of eye position, viewing angles, and even have a look-see at the differences across tablet types.

The tablet types are dated (iPad 2, for example) and the data isn’t current (January 2012), but the takeaways are the same: Using technology places new stresses on your body, and understanding the risks can help you mitigate their long-term effects.

Ergonomics matter. From posture to viewing angle, here’s how to maintain the proper posture when using tablets, smartphones, and other mobile technology.

The Proper Posture For Tablet Use? It’s About Alignment & Balance

1. Never Neglect Posture

Broadly speaking, good posture is good posture, and you should do what you can to keep a healthy posture no matter what you’re doing.

Whether standing in line, sitting on the couch, in a desk in the classroom, or holding a tablet in bed, good posture matters. Posture is about balance and alignment.

What does ‘good posture’ mean? According to Mayfield Clinic, ‘Proper Sitting Posture’ is “shoulders over hips, feet flat on the floor, low back support provided, and chin aligned over the chest.”

Proper posture sitting at a desk is more complicated:

“Proper Sitting Posture at Desk: Posture should start with shoulders over hips with good low back support. Details include: elbows flexed to 90 degrees, knees bent to 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor or supported with stool/ phonebook (enough that there is a finger width gap between the knee and the chair). The computer monitor should be at eye level, the head position should include ears aligned with shoulders. The computer’s mouse should be close enough that the elbow remains in a bent position. Finally, pen/phones should be kept within 14-16 inches of reach.”

2. Try to Use Mobile Technology at Eye Level

There are products that help, including tablet, laptop, and desktop monitor stands. These can not only raise the screen to the proper height but can allow for the appropriate viewing angle as well.

3. If you don’t Want to Die, Take Frequent Breaks

Sitting too long can kill you, according to a recent study.

One takeaway? Even if your posture and equipment help support the healthy use of technology, you need to get up and move frequently. Further, walking, stretching, jogging, or full-on exercise (quick bouts of at-the-desk yoga, for example) every 30 minutes can not only protect your body but improve your creativity and productivity as well.

4. Move While Sitting

Neck and back exercises while sitting can help counteract the effects of poor posture due to mobile technology and tablet use, too.

You can also consider a standing desk, exercise ball (they have chairs made for this!), or even treadmill desks if your wallet and space allow it.

You can read more about healthy postures for tablet use in the graphic below.

The Proper Posture For Tablet Use Is The Same For Nearly Everything Else You Do