The use of electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.) amongst the younger generation in particular has exploded in recent years. Studies estimate 92% of teenagers go online daily and 24% describe themselves as constantly connected. Their habits, the addictive nature of technology, the advice they receive and equipment/furniture they’re provided often means they use this technology for long periods in awkward postures. What effect musculoskeletal and psychosocial effects is this having during developmental stages that may then affect these generations for the rest of their lives?Methods
With the negative effects of technology use being cumulative, taking a long time to develop into diagnosable conditions, we aim to continue this research over a number of years. For the first round we will select students from Primary and Secondary education with the aim of revisiting our sample group every three years (harmonising with future ICOH Congresses) to re-evaluate their health and wellbeing in that instant and over time. At each interval the study will include a physical examination and a questionnaire on technology usage habits, general physical and psychosocial health and any symptoms attributable to technology use.Result
We will present the results of the first year study at ICOH2018 so this is currently a hypothesis. We believe that compared with previous generations the increasing habitual widespread use of technology during childhood may have a significant detrimental impact on future MSD’s, employee productivity and absenteeism rates.Discussion
Based on our hypothesis we believe this will create a need to establish new ergonomic working methods and develop new equipment and furniture to help mitigate the effects of this behaviour. This will fall into two areas; preventative measures for children at home and in the classroom and remedial actions for employers inheriting the conditions their new employees bring into the workplace.