J. Multidiscip. Res. Healthcare

Formal to Casual- Usage of Laptop Among Students- An Eye Opener

S. Paul Silvian, Priyanka G, Sayeda Begum, Gemini V Joy and S. Senthil Kumar

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PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2016. This article is published with open access at www.chitkara.edu. in/publications

The number of college students using laptops is on the rise so is the musculoskeletal disorders reported. This research tries to understand whether university students in India have the same discomfort level as reported in prior studies. The study tries to evaluate the role of parameters like postural adaptation, time related parameters like duration of laptop usage, frequency of rest breaks and the predisposition of MSD among the students. And it is found that neck pain is the most common pain among Indian college students. And that MSD is caused by poor postural adaptation, time spent on the laptop as well as lack of proper ergonomic knowledge.


Laptops have become one of the major part of life where today it has replaced the predominant use of desktops. Though many organizations still work on desktops, most of the employees prefer to work on laptops outside office hours. There are organizations that provide employees with laptops in the place of desktops, now a days. In a management institute the students are mandatorily required to have laptops and are expected to carry it around for completion of academic works. There are a number of researchers who tried to elucidate on the negative effects of using computers, and have established that musculoskeletal disorders arise as a side effect. Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) can also be called an ergonomic injury or illness. MSD does not include injuries occurring as a result of falls, slips or any similar accidents. In other words it occurs as a result of bending, twisting, reaching which is characterized by over exertion and repetitive motion. It affects nerves, muscles, tendons and even support structures of the body (sometimes affect the joints of the body and even spinal disc).

Prior studies have found that college going students are prone to MSD due to prolonged, static inactivity present in them [5, 7, 13, 8]. “Students are at risk for MSD, because of student behavior, laboratory arrangements, a lack of emphasis on posture in the curriculum, and the attitudes/perceptions of faculty and administrators” [13]. [10] have also reported discomfort among college students after prolonged sitting hours. In a questionnaire administered by [15] they revealed that there is a deficiency of research pertaining to the relationship between laptop use and musculoskeletal injury, with the majority of previous work focusing on desktop computers. [2], reported that laptops come with a unique challenge, due to their size and adjustability. Laptops when placed on a standard desk, the resulting height of the keyboard is much higher than what is recommended to maintain a neutral posture, and often results in deviations of the wrists elbows, and/or shoulders, thereby increasing the chances of MSD. These challenges would result in postural discomforts like neck pain, shoulder back and even wrist pain for the user. They also result in neck flexion and forward head tilt, and substantial flexion in both the cervical and thoracic spine segments than desktop computer users [18, 19].

Page(s) 149–156
URL http://dspace.chitkara.edu.in/jspui/bitstream/1/763/3/22010_JMRH_Paul.pdf
ISSN Print : 2393-8536, Online : 2393-8544
DOI https://doi.org/10.15415/jmrh.2016.22010

Laptops are made for portability, greater flexibility and access to information, which is a boon to today’s technology savvy generation. While enjoying the fruits of such technological advancements it is important to be aware of the disadvantages of improper management and use of laptops. Though many students are aware of ergonomics, they exhibit poor postural adjustments and improper time management constituting to a majority of MSD problems. The need for conscientizing the coming generations about the ergonomic recommendations they need to keep in mind while using laptops is imperative.

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