According to a recent presentation at the 2011 Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in London, playing video games and using phones have a negative impact on joints in children. This is according to research conducted by Yusuf Yazici, MD. The finding comes from a questionnaire given to 257 children 9 – 15 years old attending two unnamed schools in St. Louis, Missouri.
The questionnaire queried the amount of time spent using game consoles, hand-held devices, and mobile phones and if the users felt any wrist or finger pain as reported on a visual analog scale. The team took this data and analyzed the differences between device usage and related pain between the two schools, performing an "estimation of categorical and continuous variable differences." Participants noted a higher degree of pain when playing console games than with the use of mobile phones. The study noted that duration of play was associated with the amount of reported pain. With each hour, the study found, an increase in pain was reported by two.
Gender was the only independent variable Yazici’s team found that could be associated with pain secondary to mobile phone usage. Females apparently reported twice as much pain as males.
Yazici and his team believe that parents should be concerned about the age when children should start using video game consoles, hand held devices and mobile phones. They also believe that the results show the need for usage limits.
“Our study has shown the negative impact that playing computer games and using mobile phones can have on the joints of young children, raising concerns about the health impact of modern technology later in life,” lead investigator Yusuf Yazici, MD, said in a European League Against Rheumatism press release. “We hope that further research in this area will shed light on what could be a serious health concern for today’s gaming children, in later life.”