Frequent Video Game Use Leads to Finger And Wrist Pain in Kids

Filed under: Medical Conditions, In The News

Playing video games for an hour a day can increase wrist and finger pain in kids. Credit: Corbis

A study presented last week at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meeting showed kids who play video games for more than an hour a day increase their chances of having wrist and finger pain. Among kids ages 7-12 who play up to three hours per day, each hour of play time increased pain by 50 percent.

The study was inspired by an 11-year-old who noticed his own fingers aching and wanted to know if it related to his video game habit. His rheumatologist dad connected the boy with researchers, who designed the study.

"We came up with a questionnaire and he gave it to all his classmates at school," said Dr. Yusuf Yazici, an assistant professor of medicine at the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York who served as the study's senior author.

The most troubling news: The younger the kids, the more significant the pain, Yazici told ParentDish. "Age seven might be too early a time to let them play with these devices." Yacizi stops short of recommending that young kids abstain entirely from handheld video games, but he says parents should keep playtime limited.

And earlier last month Iowa State University researchers announced that the hardcore gamers they studied (who play as much as 40 hours per week) have more trouble focusing on tasks requiring longer, more proactive attention than gamers who play only a couple of hours per week. That study, published in the latest issue of the journal Psychophysiology, was conducted by the same researchers who found last spring that high-volume gamers exhibit behavioral traits similar to addicted gamblers.

Related: More on Health & Safety

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.