Saturday, May 20, 2006

Is tech injuring children?

Computer injuries getting an early start with kids ...

"Mitali Perkins worries about her sons' hands.

Her 13-year-old twins, James and Timothy, are avid gamers who own three computers, two Sony PlayStations, a Nintendo GameCube and a Microsoft Xbox. Physically, they're fit, with one oddity: The boys can bend their thumbs all the way back to their forearms, and they constantly stretch and crack their knuckles with ease. For tasks like ringing a doorbell, dialing a phone number and changing the remote, they use their thumbs.

"The word 'arthritis' comes to mind," Perkins wrote in an e-mail to CNET News.com.

The Perkins boys' flexi-thumbs could be genetic--or they could be the physical adaptation of two game fanatics, just like big thighs are to bicyclists and strong shoulders are to swimmers. Whatever the case, the prolonged exposure to technology by a generation of kids has doctors, researchers and physical therapists expecting a rash of new repetitive stress injuries in the coming years.

A study from 2000 in Australia on the effects of laptop computers in schools showed that 60 percent of students aged 10 to 17 complained of neck and back discomfort while using the PC.

"Not since the development of a written language has the task performed by children and adults changed so dramatically," according to the report from the International Ergonomics Association."   continued ...   (Via CNET News)

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