We have become so obsessed with our iGadgets that not only do we accept the unsafe working conditions that it takes to produce our iPads and the like, but we've also put our own health at risk. Attachment to our iPad screens has led to head and neck strain, found recent research out of Stanford. And there's even a Text Neck institute, for the "epidemic." We don't mean to suggest that our bourgy physical ailments match the fatigue that comes with 16 hour work days, but both have the same root cause: gadget lust. Unlike the workers in China, however, Apple's looking out for our safety, giving us some tips on how to use its products safely.
Apple has an entire section of its website dedicated to ergonomics. With 8 different sections, each dedicated to a different part of our body, it's sobering reminder of all the ways we're messing up our bodies on a daily basis. It doesn't look like the site has been update since Apple's early days, as the cartoon graphics (example to the right) show injured workers on bulky desktop computers -- something a post-Steve Jobs Apple would never tolerate. But, in general, we found some useful tips. For example, for "extensive phone use," Apple suggests: "Frequently look into the distance for a moment," a.k.a zone out. Or, for "prolonged monitor viewing" we're told to "close your eyes periodically."
We also came across this handy video from Mac headquarters that explains the best way to set up the modern workplace while minimizing injury. Working is like riding a mountain bike, according to our guide, and we should always make sure everything's in order before hopping on for the ride or we might regret it later. Below we have part 1, if you're interested in learning more, we found part 2, where she gets into desktop computing, also.
Given that Apple hasn't updated its safety manuals since 1993, we found more 21st century type solutions on the Text Neck institute site. Along with information on the risks, there, they offer an app that encourages smartphone users to hold the device at just the right angle to minimize injury. And that Stanford research suggests resting a tablet at a steep angle on a table as the best way to use an iPad
Beyond our own ailments, being consumed with our technology can also hurt those around us. Take the texting while walking phenomenon, recently chronicled in The New York Times. "More than 1,000 pedestrians visited emergency rooms in 2008 after they were injured while using a cellphone to talk or text," writes The Times's Casey Neistat. "That had doubled each year since 2006, according to a study conducted by Ohio State University," she continues. They provide some tips of their own via this half-joking, half-serious instructional video.
Our gadget addictions are real. They aren't going away. Neither our physical ailments nor the hardships others have to go through will wean us away from iMessage. iPad responsibly.
Image via Shutterstock by spotmatik.