Michigan State University

Laptop and Mobile Devices

Mobile Devices including Cell Phones

Suffering Blackberry® Thumb? Texting and using other mobile devices like iPods a lot can cause repetitive stress injuries. Your poor thumb is not accustomed to being used in an awkward way. The smaller the devices get the worse it becomes. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your thumb:

  • Limit time using mobile devices. Only use them for 15 minutes max at a time. If you need more time go to a regular computer that is set up properly.
  • Take a break. Spread out use throughout the day. Rest those thumbs!
  • Keep messages short. Use your computer for long emails.
  • Use a neutral grip. Keep your wrist straight.
  • Switch hands. Share the work load between your hands.
  • Rest your eyes. Staring at a small screen for long periods of time can cause eye strain. Blink and look at something in the distance.
  • Do not hunch over the device. Sit up straight with your back supported. For tablets, use stands on a table in front of you.
  • Do not keep looking down.
  • Do not rest the phone on your shoulder when talking. Use a hands-free device instead.
  • Use text shortcuts or speech recognition applications.

Laptops

More people today are using laptops for their main computer and those laptops keep getting smaller. This means laptop users are hunched over their laptop, causing injuries to their wrists, necks, backs, eyes, and more. So here are some tips to help you be a safer laptop user:

  • Try to have your own workstation set up for you that is ergonomically correct.
  • Do not sit with it on your lap. Work on a table or other sturdy work surface.
  • Use a separate monitor or a stand to raise the laptop screen to eye level. Do not hunch or bend your neck.
  • Use a separate keyboard and mouse.
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Sit up straight with your lower back supported.
  • When you have to carry your laptop and accessories, keep it light and comfortable or use a bag on wheels to transport the laptop. Don’t forget the laptop bag can add weight to your shoulders too!
  • See our guide on using dual monitors.