Not so good vibrations

Children who play hours of computer games with vibrating game pads risk developing hand arm vibration syndrome, according to experts at UK's Great Ormond Street children's hospital.

Doctors and researchers have called for all games that use vibration to carry a health warning, advising children and parents only to play the game for around two hours per day. The move has received support from the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).

"There are currently no guidelines for parents, who generally don't know how long their child should sit in front of a computer screen," said a spokesman for the NSPCC. "Anything which draws the possible dangers to their attention has to be a plus point."

A young boy was submitted to Liverpool's Alder Hey hospital showing all the symptoms of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome or 'White finger', a condition normally associated with workmen who operate hand-held drills.

The boy had been playing console games for up to seven hours a day. As a result his hands had become white and swollen. But a question still remains at to who should be responsible for issuing any health warnings.

"We believe that, with increasing numbers of children playing these devices, there should be consideration for statutory health warnings to advise users or parents," said a British Medical Report written by Gavin Clary, a specialist registrar at St Ormond Street hospital.

Eidos Interactive, one of the UK's best known computer games firms, says it is the responsibility of the gamepad manufacturers to incorporate warnings and not an issue for game publishers.

"We already put warnings on our games, with recommended time limits but this is not about the games, it's the fault of the hardware being used," said an Eidos spokesman.

But Sony Computer entertainment, which makes vibrating handsets for its Playstation consoles, said it already issues health warning with all hardware. "Warning are contained in all manuals," said a company spokesman.

Sony manuals contain a warning that users should take a break from gaming at least every fifteen minutes, but there is no limit on how much time children should play games per day and nothing written on the outside of boxes.

RSI (repetitive strain injury) has become a common, if not necessarily medically recognised, complaint from regular mouse users and experts expect many more cases of White finger will be reported.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Wendy Brewer

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?