Is it bad to put your laptop on your lap?


A close cousin to the sperm count discourse. People like to cite RFR, or radio frequency radiation, as another reason to keep the laptop away from the body. This point is reminiscent of the “stand too close to a microwave and you”ll catch cancer” myth. But radiation you’re exposed to from long periods with a laptop is about the same amount you’d experience from flying across the country. In other words, it’s not something to get too worked up about.


Is putting the laptop on my lap bad for me?

I depends on how hot your laptop gets, how long you type on it, and how sensitive you are to heat. Some people are very sensitive to heat and burn easily, some laptops get extremely hot. Either way, it's very unnatural position to your body to be in and too much of it and you can create some health problems like carpal tunnel.

However, the only measurable radiation emission from a laptop computer is radio waves. We are constantly exposed to such radiation from all directions and multiple sources, including radio and TV signals, electronic appliances, etc. Current data indicate that these are not harmful to our health. There is, however, quite a bit of heat generated within the laptop while it is on. It is for this reason manufacturers recommend against extended periods of use with the computer on your lap.

Academic branding

This condition has three over-the-top names: “academic branding,” “toasted skin syndrome” and “erythema ab igne.” Buckle up, ’cause it’s a doozie. Back in the day, elderly people used to sit too close to open fires or electric space heaters. Without central heating, it was more common for those who desperately needed heat to crowd around a single source. Over time, that habit could result in a reticular pigmented dermatosis, which is a fancy way of saying a big red rash.

The modern comeback of erythema ab igne, while still uncommon, has been fueled by direct contact between computers and thighs. When skin is consistently exposed to the surface of a laptop — say, for at least six months, according to one study — it’s at an increased risk of looking like this. Hence the fun nicknames. The key, clearly, is to make sure there’s at least a pair of jeans (if not a pillow or blanket) in between you and the device.


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