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Tips on Safe Use of Mobile Devices

Multi racial friends using their mobile phone at a table with their hands.

Mobile devices – such as mobile phones and tablets – are fast becoming an important part of working life, making it all the more important to consider ways of staying comfortable and healthy when using them.

Just as with working at a desk or workstation, poor posture when using mobile devices can lead to pain and other musculoskeletal problems. The tips below may help improve your posture when using these devices:

  • Use a headset wherever possible to prevent strain in your shoulders, elbows and neck from either holding a phone to your ear for long periods or wedging the phone between your shoulder and neck.
  • For short amounts of text, consider dictating your documents or responses to reduce the amount of manual typing you have to perform.
  • For longer documents, try to use a keyboard (rather than a touch screen) to reduce the potential strain on your fingers and hands. Ideally, use a computer with the screen set at the correct height for this kind of activity, or consider a Bluetooth keyboard that works with your device.
  • It is generally considered better to type with your fingers than using your thumbs, but where you are using your thumbs, try to alternate between using thumbs and fingers.
  • Take frequent breaks from typing on your portable device
  • Keep your head upright in a neutral position as much as possible with your elbows relaxed below your shoulders.
  • A tablet stand may be useful so that you do not have to hold your device up manually.

If you’d like to explore ways of customizing your phone, tablet or computer to make it easier to use, visit the My Computer My Way website.

Source: AbilityNet’s Ergonomics and Computing factsheet

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