Children now have considerable exposure to new information technologies (IT) such as desktop computers. A reported association between computer use and discomfort in children has prompted concerns about the musculoskeletal stresses associated with computer use. There were no detailed data on children reading and writing, nor any evidence on the variability of postures and muscle activity whilst children use IT. Twenty-four children (10-12 years old; 12 male) performed a reading and writing task using new IT (computer/keyboard/mouse with high display and mid height display) and old IT (book/paper/pen). Spinal and upper limb 3D posture and muscle activity were recorded and estimates of mean and variation calculated. The mean postures for children reading and writing with computers were more neutral than when they read and wrote with old IT. Similarly, mean muscle activity levels were lower during computer use than old IT use. However, new IT use also resulted in less variable, more monotonous postures and muscle activities. Moderate differences in computer display height had little effect on posture and muscle activity variation. Variation in musculoskeletal stresses is considered an important component of the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Children should therefore be encouraged to ensure task variety when using new IT to offset the greater posture and muscle activity monotony.