Whew! Video Games Don’t Cause Rickets
Last week, there was a sensational bout of stories over in the UK to the effect that video games caused rickets, a disorder that leads to the dangerous softening of the bones in young children. Why, you ask? Because two doctors writing about the higher incidence of rickets due to lack of vitamin D, the body’s production of which is activated by sunlight, made the offhanded remark that “People tend to stay at home rather than going outside to kick a ball around. They stay at home on computer games.”
Naturally, the narrative became “vitamin D=sunlight, video games≠sunlight, ∴ video games=rickets.” Logical, right? Here’s the thing: the doctors who wrote the original report went out of their way to say the video game-rickets link was wildly overblown.
Games Brief got in touch with them and set the record straight:
Dr Cheetham said:
“I understand METRO has said that we have linked computers to rickets, whereas we are actually saying lack of outdoor activity in childhood is a risk for poor D nutritional state.”
He then added, pretty unequivocally in my view:
“We do not say that gaming causes rickets … The average age of a child with rickets is around 20 months old: too young to use a keyboard and mouse!”
Good for them to set the record straight, but: should the video game-ricket ‘connection’ have ever really been a thing, of the type that people actually take seriously?
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]