The Sun warned today that “kids as young as eight are suffering crippling arthritis-like pain from using consoles and phones.” It said that experts have called for warnings to be shown on gaming boxes.
The news reports are based on a study presented at a conference on rheumatism in London this week. The abstract of that conference report states that the researchers surveyed students aged nine to fifteen from two schools in the US and found that longer duration of play on games devices was associated with greater joint pain.
Limited information was available about the methods and results of this study and until it is fully published in a peer-reviewed journal, the results should be treated cautiously. The available results seem to suggest that the study found that average levels of pain were low, although the average duration of game use was not clear. It is not possible to say from the study whether this pain only started after device usage started, and whether it persisted after usage stopped.
It seems plausible that repetitive use of any joint could potentially result in pain. However, with regards to wrist and finger joint pain this would need to be further investigated in cohort studies that follow children up over time, to confirm that the joint pain was not present before the game or mobile use, or that it worsens over time with increasing use of these devices.