Method: 7-12 year olds attending Rossman Elemantary School in St Louis, MO, were administered a questionnaire asking about game consoles and hand-held devices used, hours played, and wrist or finger pain as reported on a 10cm VAS. Summary statistics of playing habits, devices played and pain levels were estimated. Multivariable generalized linear models associating consoles played, age and hours played to pain were constructed using standard backward selection techniques, determining the most significant independent predictors for pain.
Results: 171 children completed the survey (mean age 9.7 years, 93 were female (54.4%). 84 (49.1%) reported 0-1 hours of play a day, 58 (33.9%) 1-2 hours, 12 (7%) 2-3 hours and 11 (6.4%) over 3 hours. 20 (11.7%) children reported finger pain and 17 (9.9%) reported wrist pain limiting their playing time. The mean (SD) pain level was 0.83 (1.82). Among the consoles Wii was the most commonly used (n=77, 45%), followed by Xbox/PS3 (n=9, 5.3%). 28 (16.4%) children played with none and 57 (33.3%) played both. For handhelds, Gameboy/PSP were played by 103 (60.2%) and iTouch/iPhone by 10 (5.8%). 39 (22.8%) played both and 19 (11.1%) played with neither. In beta regression, increasing age was independently associated with decreased odds of reporting pain (OR=0.65 (95% CI 0.57 – 0.75)); increasing hours played was associated with increased odds of reporting pain (OR=1.52 (95% CI 1.16-2.00)). Playing the Wii only was also independently associated with increased odds of reporting pain (OR=2.39 (95% CI 1.81-3.73)). In logistic regression, age was the only significant predictor of wrist pain (OR=0.68 (95% CI 0.48-0.96).No significant predictor of finger pain was observed.
Conclusion: In children aged 7-12, 80% of which played with a console or handheld, younger age was associated with more wrist pain. Wii use was associated with more self-reported pain independent of age and hours played. Seven year olds reported the most pain as compared the other age groups. These findings may have implications for which age children should start playing with gaming consoles and handheld devices and possibly some limits in the hours they play.
Disclosure: D. C. Ince, None; C. J. Swearingen, None; Y. Yazici, BMS, Roche, UCB, Centocor, Celgene, 5 .