Kids feel 'high levels' of pain after gaming, texting

A study presented today shows a negative impact on the joints of young children playing computer games and using mobile phones, raising questions about long-term musculoskeletal conditions.

Niklas Hellerstedt/Flickr

Data comparing students at two schools in St. Louis, Mo., suggest that just two hours of gaming or texting a day can negatively impact joint health, and that the younger the children are, the more severe the reported pain.

"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," said Yusuf Yazici, a rheumatology professor at the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York, in a press release.

Yazici is presenting his findings at the European League Against Rheumatism's 2011 Annual Congress in London today.

Yazici's team studied 257 9- to 15-year-old students at two schools in St. Louis, and found that age, gender, and the length of time spent on the devices influenced the reporting of pain, with younger children and females reporting more pain than older children and males; the odds of pain being reported doubled for every hour a student played.

In addition, pain reported by children using an Xbox or Game Boy was higher than pain reported from using iPhones.

"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," Yazici says.

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About the author

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is based in Portland, Oregon, and has written for Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, and public radio. Her semi-obscure hobbies include climbing, billiards, board games that take up a lot of space, and piano.

 

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