Welcome to the screen age!
We live in a world dominated by screens – TVs, computers, tablets, phones, ebook readers and now, even watches!
While society as a whole is actively engaging in more and more screen time, it’s the youth generation who has the highest engagement rate; laptops, phones, tablets and video games.
It’s not uncommon to see parents placating a bored child at a café by handing them an iPad or smart phone to keep them occupied allowing the parents to enjoy some downtime.
In itself, there is nothing overly wrong with this, however, as the use of devices among children becomes habitual, this will bring along with it other issues – relating particularly to their health and well-being.
These are the next generation of workers who will enter the workforce having already logged up substantial time using devices of sorts.
And as they do, the potential for injuries such as RSI and MSD are very high.
Extensive computer use (or any other device with a screen), promotes sedentary posture and sedentary behaviours that can lead to health risks.
Nearly all Australian children use computers – for school work, for communication and for entertainment.
The implications of such a lifestyle so early in development, are quite serious and if left unchecked, will lead to health issues in early adult hood.
Typical health issues observed include:
- Lack of quality sleep (sleep deprivation)
- Musculo-skeletal disorders (neck and upper limbs)
- Vision problems
- Tissue damage and general aches & pains
- Loss of social skills
- Potential risk of type 2 diabetes
This generation’s dependence on computers for work and play can result in little to no gross motor experience and due to lack of physical activity they may never achieve peak bone density.
Not only will they be less physically competent, yet also muscles and ligaments are less developed.
So as the youth generation prepares to enter the workforce with either pre-existing health issues or health issues that are waiting to manifest (potentially triggered by work requirements), the workplace needs to be prepared.
A stronger focus on health and well-being programs will be required in addition to continuous education and adaptation.
Simple initiatives such as ergonomics will take on a much more prominent and key role.
Ergonomics aims to improve work-spaces and environments to minimise risk of injury or harm.
So as technologies change, so too does the need to ensure that the tools we access for work, rest and play are designed for our body’s requirements.
All is not bleak though for the computer generation – through education, knowledge and support, we can have the best of both worlds – health and wellbeing and our hi-tech toys!