4 Tips to Keep Your Child’s Gaming Safe and Injury-Free
Tis the season… to be gaming that is. With the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, many parents are eagerly searching every gaming website and store hoping to get their hands on one of the coveted consoles to surprise their child this holiday season. With video game sales up, it’s predicted that almost 50 percent of American families with children will purchase video games as holiday gifts.
Video gaming has been a great way for friends and families to stay connected during this most unusual time. It’s also been a great way for youngsters to ease the stress and monotony of the pandemic. However, along with the increase in sales and game time, there’s also been an increase in orthopedic injuries due to gaming.
Game-related injuries, such as gamer’s thumb, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, and other overuse injuries, are at an all-time high as kids are spending more time battling their friends and foes online. If you have a young gamer in your life, you must oversee their gaming habits to help prevent orthopedic conditions that can arise with prolonged gameplay. Here are some tips to help keep your child’s gaming experience safe and injury-free.
- Set Time Limits. Now that most schooling is virtual and kids have more free time, they’re spending longer periods gaming. This is bad for their eyes, body, and posture. Limit their daily play time to two hours or less. Most all systems come with some type of parental controls. Or, simply set a timer for them to know when their gaming session is over.
- Exercise With Them. We’re not talking about lifting weights or doing jumping jacks, we’re referring to hand exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons affected by gaming. The repetitive finger and hand motions used in gaming cause tendon inflammation in the thumbs, wrists, and arms. Help your child prevent injury by doing these hand exercises with them.
- Thumb Extensor Stretch – Hold hand out, palm facing up. Extend thumb away from other fingers. Stretch thumb across the palm toward the base of your pinky. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 4 times.
- Wrist Joint Circles – Gently rotate wrists in a circle 10 times. Reverse and rotate wrists counterclockwise.
- Forearm Stretch – Extend arm out, palm facing up. Using the other hand, gently grab fingers from underneath and pull downward until you feel the stretch in the top part of your forearm. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Buy Proper Equipment – Just as you would for any other sport, ensure your child has the best “equipment” possible. For gaming this refers to ergonomic chairs and keyboards. This will eliminate slouching and decrease pressure on their spine and wrists which can lead to poor posture and nerve impingement.
- Require Breaks – Encourage them to take breaks during their gaming. This breaks up the repetitive motions and back and neck strain that is responsible for most orthopedic injuries. For every 30 minutes of game time, have them take a 5-minute rest to stretch. Even college and pro athletes take period breaks from their activity. Gaming is no different.
Prevention is key when preventing conditions like tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome due to gaming. Help keep your child safe from unnecessary orthopedic injuries. If your child begins to experience any pain or trouble grasping/gripping, do not let them play through it. Contact the orthopedic specialists at Direct Care by calling 855-921-0799 or visiting www.directorthocare.com.
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