A huge increase in the number of students using laptops has raised concerns that the computers may be causing significant health risks.
Of particular concern is the habit of many students to use laptops on the floor, in bed or on their laps, rather than at a desk or table.
Research conducted by University College London for The Ergonomics Society found that 57 per cent of students had experienced aches and pains owing to laptop use, and seven per cent were experiencing pain "a lot of the time".
Some 21 per cent of respondents complained of aches and pains in the neck and shoulders, followed by wrist pain (16 per cent), back ache (15 per cent) and eye strain (10 per cent).
The Ergonomics Society warned that many students were not aware that they could be damaging their health by using their laptops on the floor, in bed or on their laps, rather than at a desk.
"University students use their laptops quite differently from school pupils, " said ergonomist Rachel Benedyk, of the UCL Interactive Centre, who led the research.
"They want the portability and flexibility of a laptop, but they use them highly intensively in a complex and variable environment.
"We have shown that this raises ergonomic risks, and we are seeking funding to extend and develop our research in this area."
Students use their laptops for an average of almost five-and-a-half hours a day, which would be considered 'extensive' in a risk assessment, according to Benedyk.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that 42 per cent of students use their laptop on their laps, 29 per cent in bed and 13 per cent on the floor.
The research also highlighted the issue of carrying the laptop around, suggesting that 67 per cent of respondents are concerned about the computer's weight.
However, fear of being targeted by thieves has an ergonomically beneficial side-effect, according to the study, as 21 per cent of respondents carry their laptops in a backpack to reduce the risk of theft.
Using a backpack can distribute the weight more evenly than a traditional laptop bag carried on one shoulder.
The Ergonomics Society has produced a leaflet offering advice for students, and is mailing out posters to universities to highlight the issue.
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