Prolonged gaming & TV sessions giving kids cancer, says tabloid

Tuesday, 8 January 2013 12:14 GMT By Dave Cook

Prolonged exposure to games and TV is inducing cancer in children, according to coverage of a scientific report by British tabloid The Mirror.

Here’s the headline – via CVG

The headline has been written in response to research conducted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. However, while the opening line states, “children who are hooked on TV, computer games and the web are at a greater risk of getting cancer in later life”, the report in question actually suggests that inactivity related to sitting down in front of TV and monitors in general is the issue, not gaming itself.

It seems as if the gaming angle has – once again – been added in by the publication for shock value. The article does include advice from experts, warning that children should spend no more than two hours in front of a screen of any description, but that the average time spent in front of the telly or gaming devices is currently 5.9 hours.

Elsewhere in the piece, Kate Mendoza, of the World Cancer Research Fund issued cautionary advice, “Children may well get plenty of physical activity at school through sports or playing but if they spend a lot of time sitting down at home they might develop habits which could increase their risk of diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes in the future.”

Professor Mitch Blair from the college then added, “Whether it’s mobile phones, games consoles, TVs or laptops, advances in technology mean children are exposed to screens for longer amounts of time than ever before. We are becoming increasingly concerned that this encourages a more sedentary lifestyle.”

Speaking with CVG, a spokesperson for the college replied to
the tabloid’s linking of games and cancer risk by saying, “That’s not something we’ve been commenting on.”

What’s your take on the actual issue at hand – children being glued to screens of any description, rather than the tabloid sensationalism? Is this something that will increase given how exposed we are to mobile devices, gaming at an increasingly younger age? Let us know what you think below.