More than 33 million people in the UK play games regularly, and 55 million hours of games are played every day, according to the UK Interactive Entertainment Association, writes Jemima Kiss in the Guardian.
With numbers like these, it’s safe to assume that a substantial portion of these gamers are young people.
Kids today, just like adults, are more sedentary, glued to videogames and every tech gadget with a screen. And we are all paying the costs as obesity-related health-care expenses skyrocket, writes Mark McKinnon in The Daily Beast.
But it’s not just obesity that we need to think about when it comes to our kids and gaming. Potential musculoskeletal-related issues must be considered too.
It’s important to remember that gaming is computer time which means that the rules around safe ergonomics, computing and long hours of sitting must be applied to gaming too. This is especially true for young people who will spend many more years of their lives sitting, computing and gaming than their parent’s generation did.
Time spent gaming must be included in a young person’s total computer time for the day. Breaks are critical, especially as gaming is likely to be done while sitting in awkward positions for long periods without stopping. And breaks should involve moving in some way, not more sitting.
It’s time parents and young people are made aware of the potential musculoskeletal issues that can arise from long periods of static, awkward computer postures whether they are done at school, at home, on the bus, or lounging with Grand Theft Auto on the couch.
We should also encourage game makers to build in an automatic save every time the player wants to stop gaming. This way, they can stop playing immediately, rather than having to play through to the next save point.
So, don’t forget to count gaming when thinking about your kids’ total daily computer time. Otherwise, it’ll be ‘game on’ for a lifetime of repetitive strain injuries and back pain.