Medical News

Children are Suffering from Rise...

Added On : 14th August 2013

Kids playing video gamesChildren are Suffering from Rise of the 'Gameboy Back'

Surgeons say increasing numbers of children are suffering spinal problems caused by prolongued use of gaming consoles.

Orthopaedic experts say children and teenagers are being left with injuries and curvatures because of a phenomenon they have dubbed “Gameboy Back,” after too many hours hunched over addictive computer games.

Doctors say that increasing numbers of children are developing serious spinal problems, such as slipped discs, because they slump for such long periods.

Writing in a medical journal, the Dutch surgeons said the scale of the problems today was akin to that more than a century ago, when child labour was common.

Experts in this country said prolongued period on games consoles, and time hunched over smartphones, is damaging the posture of children, and would leave some with lifelong problems.

Writing in the Dutch medical magazine, Medisch Contact, orthopaedic and spinal surgeon Piet van Loon said doctors were seeing increased numbers of cases linked to use of computer consoles.

He said: “Essentially, it’s like growing bonsai trees: bone responds in the same way as wood. If you force it in a certain direction over a prolonged period, that’s how it ends up growing.'

The experts said the simplest test for “Gameboy Back” is to see if children can bend over and touch their toes. Those with curvature of the speine would not be able to flex sufficiently to reach, they said.

The surgeons said parents should not ban the devices, but pay more attention to their children’s posture when they use computers or games.

Sammy Margo, from the the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) said that people who play computer games have a tendency to either slump, or to curve their spine in a C-shape for hours on end.

She said: “Children often sit in front of a computer game in a posture that is very bad for their backs, putting pressure on discs, muscles and ligaments. They can become so immersed in the plot of a game that they don’t notice any pain or discomfort.”

“Parents should make sure that children are sitting in a supported position, either in a firm chair, or on the floor with their back resting against a sofa.”

She said regular breaks were essential, so children got movement in their muscles and joints.


Laura Donnelly -