Children's computer use is rapidly growing, together with reports of related musculoskeletal outcomes. Models and theories of adult-related risk factors demonstrate multivariate risk factors associated with computer use. Children's use of computers is different from adult's computer use at work. This study developed and tested a child-specific model demonstrating multivariate relationships between musculoskeletal outcomes, computer exposure and child factors. Using pathway modelling, factors such as gender, age, television exposure, computer anxiety, sustained attention (flow), socio-economic status and somatic complaints (headache and stomach pain) were found to have effects on children's reports of musculoskeletal symptoms. The potential for children's computer exposure to follow a dose–response relationship was also evident. Developing a child-related model can assist in understanding risk factors for children's computer use and support the development of recommendations to encourage children to use this valuable resource in educational, recreational and communication environments in a safe and productive manner. Practitioner Summary: Computer use is an important part of children's school and home life. Application of this developed model, that encapsulates related risk factors, enables practitioners, researchers, teachers and parents to develop strategies that assist young people to use information technology for school, home and leisure in a safe and productive manner.
- musculoskeletal disorders
- pathway models