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Computer games consoles

The number of recorded cases is still relatively low but there is growing concern that cases are going unreported. Many parents and health professionals are concerned about the potential for RSI affecting schoolchildren.

The playing of computer games needs careful attention, particularly if combined with keyboarding and text-messaging, children may be at risk of straining their hands and wrists. Dr Diana Macgregor of the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital has highlighted the case of an 11-year-old boy who suffered from tendinitis following long periods on his Nintendo GameBoy, a condition that has come to be known as 'Nintendonitis'.

Computer games are powerfully addictive and children's time on them needs to be carefully managed. However, banning computer use entirely is unreasonable and inappropriate. Measures such as rest and increased variety of leisure pursuits will allow tendons and muscle to recover. Dr Macgregor also recommends the use of preventative hand-care exercises.

It should also be pointed out that children play games because they want to - not because of any contract, job-target, financial imperative or other work pressure. Without these complex social factors they are at less risk of developing the chronic, prolonged hand diseases of adulthood. The long-term effects of poor posture on developing bodies are just as big a concern.