Video games have been blamed for a surge in reported cases of rickets in the UK. Doctors are claiming that as children spend more time indoors and away from sunlight they are suffering from a lack of vitamin D. According to today’s Metro, there were 20 new cases of rickets every year in Newcastle alone. Rickets causes the softening of bones in children potentially leading to fractures and deformity and usual occurs in children suffering from severe malnutrition. Prof Simon Pearce said,
“Kids tend to stay indoors more these days and play on their computers instead of enjoying the fresh air. This means their vitamin D levels are worse than in previous years. The number of patients still presenting with symptoms of vitamin D deficiency shows we have a long way to go.”
Richard Wilson, a spokesman for Tiga, the games developers’ trade association, countered with,
“It would be completely wrong to put this issue on the doorstep of video games, which can be beneficial. Things like Wii Fit can encourage exercise.”
Once again video games are the scapegoat. I don’t see Facebook, Bebo and MySpace being blamed for rickets.