As kids and teens around the world become increasingly glued to their computers both for academic and non-academic purposes, an increasing number among them are reporting symptoms of musculoskeletal damage, such as back, neck and shoulder pain.

Researchers at the Boston University have conducted a study on laptop use and consequent discomfort, and reported that 50 percent of university students suffer pain or discomfort associated with the use of computers. The study, published in the journal Ergonomics, also finds that one in seven students is affected after about just an hour of laptop use. Given that 18 million students were enrolled in undergraduate studies at the time that the study was conducted, more than 2.5 million young people could be affected with serious musculoskeletal disorders even before they joined the workforce.

TechNewsDaily quotes Karen Jacobs, occupational therapist at Boston University and the study's lead author as warning that in childhood and adolescence, when the musculoskeletal system and posture are still developing, computer-usage related physical discomfort could have serious consequences. It is, therefore, important for parents to not only monitor usage but also ensure that they are stretching and exercising certain muscles to prevent physical problems in the future.

Jacobs recommends the use of accessories such as external mice and laptop riser to help reduce the risks of certain kinds of damage. Besides, regular exercise, occasional breaks from the computer, and stretching may help to minimize the risks of severe injury to the system.