08 October 2007


Computers are an ideal tool for learning through play. Every school insists on computer classes from a very young age. Rhymes and music are played, drawing and painting is encouraged on the computer. Even stories are told using flashcards generated on the computer screen.
A little older child is encouraged to play computer games. At school, the 4th grade upwards are being taught programming languages as well. PowerPoint presentations are common among 5th graders and above. 6th graders are taught to create their own websites as well.
As to the use of internet, all school projects are done carefully after sourcing information from the net. Reference books from the library have taken a back seat . Almost every school going child from 5th upwards has an email-id. They love using computer jargon, especially if their parents do not know, and parents enjoy that.
But, very few educationists lay down guidelines for the child with respect to ergonomics. They are only satisfied in blocking social networking sites and email agents while children surf online in the computer class.
And at home, parents are more eager in providing a computer with internet connection for their wards without verifying the lighting and seating aspects while the child is at the computer.

Essential guidelines to follow

  • Computer workstation meant for an adult is not suitable for a child. They may have to look up at a different angle than the parent.
  • Investing in a good chair which can be adjusted according to the child's height is recommended.
  • The recommended distance between the monitor and the eye for children is between 18 and 28 inches.
  • Parents should check for sources of glare by sitting in front of the computer.Windows or other light sources should not be directly visible while at the computer.
  • American Optometric Association recommends that children take short breaks of at least 20-seconds for every 20 minutes of computer time.
The Association warns that many children may be developing Computer Vision Syndrome due to prolonged computer use. In addition to vision problems as with the adult, a child spending too much time in front of the computer screen can develop eye discomfort, blurred vision, fatigue and headaches.

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