An Alexander Technique Perspective on How to Choose a Computer
If you search the internet, there are lots of articles and adverts on how to choose a computer. They discuss speed and memory etc along with the advantages of buying smaller, more portable laptops, even smaller netbooks and now mobile phones that access the internet and fulfil many of the functions of a desktop computer.
There does not seem to be much consideration as to what effect they might have on someone’s general body-use and functioning when using these very small pieces of equipment for long periods of time.
They can be great to have if you travel a lot and can be a useful accessory – but are they suitable as the main way to access the internet?
If you look at people on public transport, the smaller the object gets, the more crumpled and contracted the person tends to be as their necks pull down towards the small screen. Also thesetiny keyboards may well create even more tension in the user, producing more tendinitis and RSI in the future, plus neck and shoulder problems.
Most people are more able to look after their own body-use, their posture and tension levels, when they are able to sit in a balanced manner as they look at an eye-level screen. this is why many offices have health and safety reps giving advice about desk set-ups, trying to avoid health problems from developing.
There are also some points about posture and computer use that have been put forward for people to read, as in my own article on Ergonomics. It is true that people can cause problems for themselves with their poor posture and mis-use when using a desktop, even with a really good set-up – but it is easier to look after yourself when sitting at a desk.
Issues to Consider
Ask yourself, how much time would you spend using the internet on your phone or netbook? What happens to your neck, hands and shoulders when you use these? Do you get shoulder / neck/ head / hand / arm / back ache from using any equipment now? Might that get worse with a smaller piece of equipment?
Of course, it is possible in Alexander Technique lessons to learn about using such items of equipment in a way that minimises the likelihood of causing yourself damage and this would help a lot. It is so much easier to prevent problems from arriving than to try to let go of unhelpful habits and heal yourself after you are in pain!
But do you consider these issues before replacing your own desktop computer and buying the latest, smallest gizmo to use in its place?
If not, you may be setting yourself up for some painful times in the future!
Is that latest bit of tiny equipment really worth it?