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PolyU Expert Studies the Health Effects of Using Portable Electronic Devices
Date:9/4/2013

rs. 70% of respondents reported having experienced neck pain, 65% had shoulder pain, 46% with wrist and finger pain. Results also revealed that most respondents used more than one types of electronic device and for quite a long time each day. Maintaining a prolonged static posture, coupled with lack of exercise, would significantly increase the risk of developing musculoskeletal symptoms in different parts of the body.    

The second phase of the survey was conducted in 2013 on school children. Two primary schools and a secondary school, with a total of 582 students at the age of 10 to 15, have been invited to complete the survey. Among them, 309 were boys and 273 were girls; 383 were in primary five to six, and 199 were secondary one to three students. Results showed that 488 students (84%) were regular users of smartphones, even higher than the number of desktop computer users (76%). Moreover, 184 people (31.6%) used a tablet computer on a regular basis. Among the student respondents, 180 persons (30%) reported using smartphones for 1-4 hours every day while 161 persons (27.6%) reported musculoskeletal discomforts related to the use of electronic devices. Close to 80% (127 persons) reported neck pain, 30% (55 persons) had shoulder pain, and 51% (85 persons) had wrist and finger pain symptoms.

Although the prevalence rates are generally lower in school children than the adult group, they are only 10 to 15 year-old growing children. Compared to the results of a previous study conducted in 2009, children at the time used mainly handheld gaming devices such as PSP and NDS. In this 2013 study, smartphones and tablet computers have largely replaced those handheld gaming devices within a two-year period.

Students overly obsessed with electronic games may suffer from adverse health effects in the long run. If they become accustomed to poor postures such as forward head or "poking-chin" posture, a kyphotic back a
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