Author: Video Games Lead to Finger Deformities in Young Children

A Michigan grandfather believes that grasping video game controllers can lead to finger deformities in children.

Mike Tomich, maintains that children under eight should not be allowed to play video games. He also writes that kids under five should not be permitted to use crayons: 

Children develop the injuries because their bones are too soft (not calcified hard) and readily yield to the strong repeating forces. The permanent and accumulative damage from these forces is silently inflicted without pain because of the numbing effects they deliver to the soft bones.

Tomich, author of Our Silent Epidemic, criticizes the U.S. Senate for failing to pass legislation that he believes will lead to study of the issue. Tomich wrote on his website in October:

We spoke with Senator Ted Kennedy’s Office today and they said Senate bill S.948-CAMRA Act which was going to study children’s health, including the effects of video gaming, will have to be submitted for the 8th time next year. Senator Lieberman’s Office informed us that Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) killed the bill for it’s 8th year because he didn’t want it passed… 


What could the video gaming industry possibly say to Enzi to prevent passage? …


The Video Gaming Industry wants Senate bill S.948-CAMRA Act to go away forever.  Did you know that on 11-14-08 Microsoft Executives visited Washington and discussed children’s finger injuries from video gaming and S.948 is now being stalled? The Nintendo Wii is      suppose [sic] to replace the damaging game controller, but the Wii is equally damaging.

Although there is a rheumatologist who apparently supports Tomich’s theory, it does not appear to have gained much traction otherwise. Tomich describes himself as a "quality engineer" who "has dedicated his career to mechanical failure analysis."

Via: Gizmodo

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  1. axiomatic says:

    Dear Mr. Tomich,

    Swinging a hammer 8 hours a day will also deform your hands. Should we stop building houses as well? Why not promote KNOWLEDGE instead of abstinance and suggest a way to mitigate the potential for hand injury related to repetitive motion injury?

  2. Stealthguy says:

    Think of it this way, if he does run with your idea you can call him out for using your fictional idea.

    I think Thompson would be less of a problem if his money was replace with monolopy money


  3. MrSplitter says:

    So I guess we shouldn’t let our kids use their hands at all until they’re 8? If crayons are harmful then so are hotweels cars, baby dolls and don’t even think about letting your kid throw a ball!

    Me and most of the people I know have been using crayons long before they were five years old and as far as my piano and I can tell there is nothing wrong with my fingers.

    Now if you will exuse me, I must go wrap my son’s hands in foam to protect them from evil wax coloring utencils.

  4. Ashton says:

    This guy is a fucking moron.

    The bones of a child ARE softer than an adults, but not enough that tapping buttons will deform them. Secondly, they’re SUPPOSED to be softer (especially in the epiphyseal plate) because if they calcify (as in adulthood) the child wouldn’t be able to grow. The epiphyseal plates only harden at age 18-22 so that bone growth ceases. If he thinks that tapping buttons will deform bones, than things like running (which places much larger strain on bones than tapping a button) will create a legion of legless toddlers. This obviously isn’t the case.

  5. Shahab says:

    What total and utter bullshit. I’ve been playing games since I was in freaking preschool and I have beautiful, straight, agile fingers and hands. I used to play a lot too. I only have one deformity and was that happened when I used to play basket ball in highschool. I went for a funny rebound that hit the underside of the rim and popped my pinky out of its socket, it has never been straight since. Should we make it illegal for highschool students to play basket ball? 


    What a douche.

  6. MonkeyPeaches says:

    I’ve been playing video games since I was 6, I’m now 22 and my fingers are prefectly straight.

  7. Quindo says:

    shouldn’t playing a musical instrament at a young age cause the same effect?


    — Currently doing a research project on the short-short term effects SWBF:2 has on peoples abilities to focus.

  8. Arell says:

    We’re a tool-using species.  It’s a hallmark of being a primate.  Our hands our built to grasp things in various different ways.  Now admittedly, repetitive actions at a very early stage of development can lead to bones growing a little differently, but not so much as to be labeled a "deformity."  I’d imagine a child would have to hold a controller 8+ hours a day to impair their hands.  And if that was the case, that’s more a problem with parenting skills.

  9. hellfire7885 says:

    I’ve been gaming since at least the days of the NES, and NES controllers hurt if you played too long, and my hands are just fine.

  10. Gift says:

    Any peer-reviewed research on the dangers of crayons, or is this guy just making it all up?


  11. LAG - Law Abiding Gamer says:

    You’ve got it all wrong.  The video game industry is intentionally causing childrens’ hands to be deformed so that they’ll work better with firearms.  That way they’ll be more eager to pick up all of the murder simulators on the market, so that they can practice this wonderful use of their new, improved appendages!

    ***Homicide-free video gaming since 1972!***

    P.S. to J.T. – I’m joking.  The industry isn’t really doing this (imaginary) bodily reconfiguration on purpose.  These aren’t the lawsuits you’re looking for.  Move along…

  12. Obi says:

    I’ve been playing video games longer than I can remember.  My mom says that there was a controller in my hand as soon as I could manage to keep it there and play Sega Genesis games with my dad.  Strangely enough, my fingers are straight…

    My left hand’s fingers are longer than the right’s, but that’s from playing guitar, not video games.

    You know, too much coloring can lead to other forms of art-making.  Crayons "deform" young hands, and a good many paints are toxic.  See what we’re doing to the children!  They’re making pretty things at the expense of their health!  Coloring is a gateway drug.

    … Either that or this guy is insane.  You know, whichever you think is most likely.




  13. nekusagi says:

    Why don’t we just ban children from playing period? Lock them away in a special chamber until they’re 18 and protect them from all the bad pedophiles and dangerous playgrounds and nasty germs and vile, vile, evil video games?


    Will that make these people happy?

  14. Praetorian says:

    Well, I don’t buy his claim. I was weend on Atari and grew up on Nintendo! My hands are perfectly healthy and free of deformities. In fact, I would have to say that my hands are one of the most valuable tools I own.

    Don’t believe me?

    *gives the finger*

    See, works fine. 😛


    "I’ve been told I’m the resident skeptic, but I wouldn’t believe that."

  15. SimonBob says:

    Now wait a second — if you’ve got deformed fingers, then you probably can’t handle a firearm properly, so isn’t this a good thing?  Kids will be playing their murder simulators, and they’ll want to go on a rampage, but they won’t be able to because they can’t pull the trigger!

    Seriously, the anti-games backlash movement has to reel this guy in, he’s getting off-message.  If nuts like this keep coming up out of the woodwork, why, the public might actually embrace gaming as "normal!"

    The Mammon Philosophy

  16. ChrowX says:

    …I call bullshit on this claim. They showed one kid with messed up fingers and claim that every kid has hand problems now. When I first herad this, it made a bit of sense to me, since I have a young brother and isster who have been gaming since they were very young… But their hands are fine.

    The reason I’m most skeptical is that the girl they showed has an odd deformity. Her fingers bend outward for one. Her thumbs bend all the way back, but I’ve met people who have that feature due to genetics, not pressing their thumbs flat against a N64 controller. It doesn’t add up, since game controllers have you curl your fingers around them, hence the ergonormic design. I can’t foresee a person being able to hold an n64 controller so tightly with just the tips of their fingers to the point where it would cause them to bend outwards… Which doesn’t actually make any sense. Even if using a mouse and keyboard, your fingers are arched, not pressed flat against them.

    I’m willing to admit that extensive videogame play can lead to hand pains, because I’ve experienced it, but the bone deformities this guy is talking about just aren’t real. Children at the age of 4 don’t have muscles strong enough to press so hard, for so long, that their bones would get damaged. Additionally, games that would require constant button mashing are easier to play with a looser grip.. In fact most games don’t really play well at all when you have a vice-grip around the controller.

    It just doesn’t make any logical sense to me.

  17. DavCube says:

    …anything can lead to finger deformities in young children. Nine times out of ten, those common hobbies require repetitive use of your hands. (Like, i don’t know, sports?) Highlighting the use of video games and crayons as though they’re so much worse than anything else is a huge shot in the dark. Children play musical instruments too, and they can cause the same thing. Should they only be in chorus until adulthood to ‘protect their self-esteem’ or whatnot?

    Didn’t think so.

    Though they ARE talking about kids under five years old… there is a difference there, albeit not that much.

  18. TBoneTony says:

    My fingers get sure from playing videogames, same thing from reading books and also playing the Trombone.

    Yet this old guy only focuses on videogames and crayons all because he see’s kids use them.

    Pathetic way of getting attention to be honest.


  19. jsutcliffe says:

    A small note: My left hand is slightly deformed from learning cello and guitar from a young age. Where are the articles about those Dangers To Our Children(tm)?

  20. Soldat_Louis says:

    Has someone told him that you can play games on computers… unless he thinks that keyboards and mouses can damage children’s fingers too.

    Now, I remember that when I started playing with a console pad, I was already 9-10. Previously, I used to play in video arcades, or at home with my MSX computer.

  21. Afirejar says:

    That he thinks that the Nintendo Wii is supposed to replace the damaging Microsoft XBox controller should be a dead giveaway.

  22. sirdarkat says:

     And his qualification is ??? crazy old grandfather ???  I’m sorry but a he-said she-said I-think argument holds about much water as a bucket with no bottom (using a phrase that an old person can understand).

  23. TK n Happy Ness says:

    I find it funny is that this video is over a year old and the story is only being posted now. That, and it’s 100% false.

    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  24. Firebird says:

    "Cracker" is politically incorrect, the right term is Caucasian-American

    …of course, that said, I’ve never heard of the "Great Nation of Caucasia"

  25. MonkeyPeaches says:

    Red crayon: Native American Crayon

    Black crayon: african american crayon

    White: cracker crayon

    Yellow: asian crayon

  26. Firebird says:

    Crayola is corrupting our Children!!! Theres’ red, and reds’ the color of blood!


  27. JustChris says:

    "The N64 was crap, and so was its controller."

    I remember all those complaints people had with Mario Party 2.

    It was a weird controller though. Most people I knew held it from the center and right handles. I thought that looked ridiculous and was confortable just holding it with the left and right handles, as normal looking controllers don’t have an awkward middle thing poking out.


  28. Zen says:

    They do make controllers that are smaller for smaller hands though.  I bought my 8 year old son a Mega Man X Gamecube controller that is a good bit smaller than usual, and he plays Smash Bros. with me just fine using that.  Just about every system now has a third party making the tiny versions of their controllers, except for the Wii (unless you count the GCN controllers still).

    Zen aka Jeremy Powers
    Panama City, Fl.

  29. Joran says:

    Actually, earmarks make up a very small portion of the budget, less than 1% of the total budget; for fiscal year 2008, the total amount of earmarks was about 17.2 billion dollars.  Also, most of the time, earmarks just tell the agency how to spend the money they’re already getting.

    The majority of the budget is made up by non-discretionary funding, primarily Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.  We’ll save a ton of money if we just pass some form of entitlement reform.

  30. Vake Xeacons says:

    Games and crayons deform children under 8? What’s this guy smoking? My friends and Headstart, WIC, and HRN would have to disagree.

  31. DarkSaber says:

    I don;t know what a chikden OR chikdren is.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  32. Zerodash says:

    Apparently, the "coloring industry" is working hard to supress the truth about the dangers of crayons…

  33. Conster says:

    Okay, video games are one thing, but you do not try to take crayons away from children. That’s just plain wrong.

  34. Roh02 says:

    I’ve played games since I was 2 possibly younger (Im 27) and I’ve got nothing like that my hands are perfectly healthy. maybe there are other factors here like not getting enough milk or something.

  35. BearDogg-X says:

    The fact that he’s whining about crayons and climbing, pretty much shows that he’s nothing more than a loon.

    I think he’s lying about Sen. Lieberman’s office telling him that Sen. Mike Enzi(R-Wyoming) killed a research bill.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  36. DarkSaber says:

    Does he go after books as well?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  37. Zerodash says:

    Upon looking further, this guy is pretty much saying that just about any action (including sitting) can destroy and cripple a child’s skeleton due to soft bones. In this "page" he singles-out games (and goes to say that they also damage children’s ears), but at the bottom shows how rock-climbing is bad for kids.  Again, this page is full of spelling and grammatical errors. 

    This is where it gets a little crazy- climbing?  How the hell are you going to tell a kid under 8 that they aren’t allowed to climb on things?

    This man says he is an "engineer" and that might make sense- from a strength of materials point of view.  But living tissue is much different, and I would pay more heed to these claims if it was spearheaded by a real pediatric doctor, less propaganda (sp?), and was done with fewer spelling/grammer errors.

    Also, why is he not also going after musical insturments as well?  stringed insturements, piano, and others involve the same exact forces that game controllers supposedly do.  Why not paint the music industry as evil as the games and coloring industry are?  Plus, they damage children’s ears with the noise the insturments make.

  38. KayleL says:

    I guess the ESA is actually acting, but behind the scenes. Really, if that was true, the seX-Box scandal would of never happened.

  39. DarkSaber says:

    April 1st IS just around the corner.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  40. Zerodash says:

    This is a new one.  I’ve been playing games since I was 4 years old, and my fingers are just fine (admittedly, I started with the 2600 joystick).  I know that there are huge numbers of people who have played games since they were younger than 8 years old, and I have never heard of hand deformities.  

    I like the portrayal of the games industry as being akin to the stereotypes of Big Tobacco.  Amusing.

    Does this man have any real credentials to make his case more credible? His website is full of spelling and gramatical mistakes.  In fact, the homepage almost seems Timecube-esque.  It could be a joke.

  41. DarkSaber says:

    An old person scaremongering about dreaded new technology.

    Whoulda thunk it.



    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  42. DarkSaber says:

    "Do they make controllers designed for kids?"

    Hmm, Wiimote?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  43. Ambiguous says:

    Honestly, I don’t think its as big a problem as they say.  A game controller is designed to be ergonomic, if it isn’t comfortable people wont play with it.  If it is comfortable, then its not causing you to bend your fingers in any strange directions.

    So basically, they say that using our hands for something its meant to do (use things) is harmful at a young age now?  Maybe, if it is used too much, but then again doing any one thing too much is bad.  Besides, if the controllers really did cause that kind of damage, then they must have been seriously gripping the thing to cause their fingers to bend like that.

    Why is this guy talking about legislation though?  You don’t need a bill passed to get something studied right?

    Also, I would like to see some things involving a system that isnt a relic.  The N64 was crap, and so was its controller.  I find it ahrd to believe that an xbox or ps3 controller would cause that kind of damage, provided the kid itself isn’t 1)gripping too hard, or 2)playing an unhealthy amount of time.

    I bet most of the issue here can be resolved by addressing both those points.

    Oh, final thought.  Maybe they’re being forced to use their hands in strange ways because game controllers are not designed with 4 year olds in mind.  They are made to fit an adults\young adults hands, so the kids might have to do odd things like press shooulder buttons with the tips of fingers or stretch them to reach buttons or even just hold it correctly.  Do they make controllers designed for kids?

  44. Austin_Lewis says:

    It’s not hard to find less wasteful spending these days.  The fed is gonna be 1.85 trillion in the hole this year, as in spending 1.85 trillion MORE than we have to spend, so this would probably have been a better use of our money than trying to nationalize businesses.  Or blowing trillions on earmakrs and pet projects.

  45. chadachada321 says:

    While, as a libertarian, I disagree with the spending of government monies on research such as this, this would be a much better way to spend money than on illegal wars and bailing out companies that failed themselves. I’m curious as to why people shot down the bill, wouldn’t, in their minds, it be a good thing to show teh "harmful" effects of gaming?


    After reading the comment I posted, I don’t wanna come off as trying to push my political opinions, I was just stating my opposition to "wasteful" spending, although this would be a lot less wasteful than other things.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  46. Dan says:

    He makes it sound like the goal is to hammer the buttons as hard as you can. No competent gamer pounds on them.

    That’s akin to a marksman holding his breath and yanking on the trigger.

    —— Ago. Perceptum. Teneo.

  47. gamepolitics says:

    Not a typo… Are you seriously going to try and convince me that you don’t know what a chikden is?

  48. MaskedPixelante says:

    What’s a "chikdren"? I assume it’s a typo.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

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