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Video Gamers' Health, Miranda Rights, Car Radio Distraction

Matthew: Somebody gave my eight-year-old son an Xbox for his birthday. I am afraid he will become addicted to playing it and that it will harm him and make him just sit around the house playing games all the time. I need some backup to convince my son he needs to get outside and play. Does something like an Xbox harm kids? Before I tell my son he can only play for an hour a day, I really need some proof that I’m trying to help him, not punish him. — Concerned Mom, San Diego

Well, we could send the elves to your house and have them show your son their severe cases of “Guitar Hero wrist,” as the doctors call it. Tendinitis from imitating Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page on the video game. Short of that, I’m not sure what you could say to an eight-year-old about his medical future that would impress him. Grabbing the device and hiding it might be your best bet.

It’s not to say that you’re wrong. Actually, for once, Mom is right. The Xbox and PlayStation and Wii have been around long enough for wounded players to start showing up in doctors’ offices. Sore shoulders, wrists, fingers; “gamer’s thumb”; “BlackBerry thumb” from over-texting; “cell phone elbow,” a mashed ulnar nerve from holding the phone to your ear too long; strained backs from over-Wii-ing. Our electronic gadgets have turned on us with a vengeance, and adults are as vulnerable as kids. Things are particularly bad for Wii-ers who get up from their lounge chairs and think they’re Tiger Woods. All those slack muscles will be screaming the next day. There are even accounts of broken fingers from gaming and a black eye when a Wii-er let go of the controller in some sports-induced frenzy and it whapped a bystander.

But no matter how old you are or what game you’re playing, most injuries come from repetitive stress — using the same muscle groups for hours on end, until tendons, ligaments, and muscles become inflamed. Medical studies show that the damage is particularly bad for kids under ten or so. Docs’ best guess is that the youthful tissues are not fully mature and so are more vulnerable. All medical sources recommend one hour a day, max, of gaming for all kids. Tests suggest that one hour a day doesn’t harm anyone. Sometimes the pain is bad enough that it actually forces the kid himself to limit his gaming time. That’s when a doctor should look at the situation, though a few days of rest usually repairs things.

Guitar Hero sidelined someone besides the elves. A hot-shot relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers went to the trainer with severe pain in the wrist and forearm on his pitching side. Doc said to rest the arm completely for four weeks. Apparently the pitcher stopped playing Guitar Hero as part of his rehab within three days he was back in the lineup. The doctor could only guess that it wasn’t a pitching injury, it was a guitar injury.

Heymatt: What’s the story with Miranda in our Miranda rights? Were they named after a real woman? If so, was she a very quiet woman? — JBP, via email

Miranda wasn’t very silent, which is why everything hit the fan in the first place. Ernesto Miranda (a bloke, not a señorita) was arrested in 1963 for robbery. As long as he was at the police station anyway, I guess he figured it would be a good time to confess to a previous kidnapping and rape. Prosecutors had no trouble convicting him. Defense counsel filed an appeal, saying Miranda had not been advised that the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution gave him the right to refuse to incriminate himself by confessing. In 1966 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed. Miranda was retried in Arizona, omitting the confession, and he was convicted again. But his name has stuck to the disclaimer that’s read to every perp in cuffs.

Hey, Matt: Why do I have to turn down my car radio when I’m doing something like looking for an address or reading a map? But I can drive okay with the radio on. So, what’s up? — Confused, driving around Chula Vista

Waa! Waa! Waa! Sensory overload! Distraction! Distraction! Brain log-off! Memory destruct! Way too much input. And there’s plenty of neurological research to explain what’s going on. Noise (including organized noise like music) shares some brain pathways with visual information. You instinctively reach for the knob in order to concentrate on one thing at a time. Tunes, especially loud, bass-thumping numbers, increase stress hormones. If you’re partying, that cortisol and adrenaline amp is called “fun.” When you’re late for a meeting, looking for an address, it’s called “stress.” And stress interferes with short-term memory, making it even harder to find that danged house number. You turn down the volume in self-defense. Your brain thanks you.

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Matthew: Somebody gave my eight-year-old son an Xbox for his birthday. I am afraid he will become addicted to playing it and that it will harm him and make him just sit around the house playing games all the time. I need some backup to convince my son he needs to get outside and play. Does something like an Xbox harm kids? Before I tell my son he can only play for an hour a day, I really need some proof that I’m trying to help him, not punish him. — Concerned Mom, San Diego

Well, we could send the elves to your house and have them show your son their severe cases of “Guitar Hero wrist,” as the doctors call it. Tendinitis from imitating Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page on the video game. Short of that, I’m not sure what you could say to an eight-year-old about his medical future that would impress him. Grabbing the device and hiding it might be your best bet.

It’s not to say that you’re wrong. Actually, for once, Mom is right. The Xbox and PlayStation and Wii have been around long enough for wounded players to start showing up in doctors’ offices. Sore shoulders, wrists, fingers; “gamer’s thumb”; “BlackBerry thumb” from over-texting; “cell phone elbow,” a mashed ulnar nerve from holding the phone to your ear too long; strained backs from over-Wii-ing. Our electronic gadgets have turned on us with a vengeance, and adults are as vulnerable as kids. Things are particularly bad for Wii-ers who get up from their lounge chairs and think they’re Tiger Woods. All those slack muscles will be screaming the next day. There are even accounts of broken fingers from gaming and a black eye when a Wii-er let go of the controller in some sports-induced frenzy and it whapped a bystander.

But no matter how old you are or what game you’re playing, most injuries come from repetitive stress — using the same muscle groups for hours on end, until tendons, ligaments, and muscles become inflamed. Medical studies show that the damage is particularly bad for kids under ten or so. Docs’ best guess is that the youthful tissues are not fully mature and so are more vulnerable. All medical sources recommend one hour a day, max, of gaming for all kids. Tests suggest that one hour a day doesn’t harm anyone. Sometimes the pain is bad enough that it actually forces the kid himself to limit his gaming time. That’s when a doctor should look at the situation, though a few days of rest usually repairs things.

Guitar Hero sidelined someone besides the elves. A hot-shot relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers went to the trainer with severe pain in the wrist and forearm on his pitching side. Doc said to rest the arm completely for four weeks. Apparently the pitcher stopped playing Guitar Hero as part of his rehab within three days he was back in the lineup. The doctor could only guess that it wasn’t a pitching injury, it was a guitar injury.

Heymatt: What’s the story with Miranda in our Miranda rights? Were they named after a real woman? If so, was she a very quiet woman? — JBP, via email

Miranda wasn’t very silent, which is why everything hit the fan in the first place. Ernesto Miranda (a bloke, not a señorita) was arrested in 1963 for robbery. As long as he was at the police station anyway, I guess he figured it would be a good time to confess to a previous kidnapping and rape. Prosecutors had no trouble convicting him. Defense counsel filed an appeal, saying Miranda had not been advised that the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution gave him the right to refuse to incriminate himself by confessing. In 1966 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed. Miranda was retried in Arizona, omitting the confession, and he was convicted again. But his name has stuck to the disclaimer that’s read to every perp in cuffs.

Hey, Matt: Why do I have to turn down my car radio when I’m doing something like looking for an address or reading a map? But I can drive okay with the radio on. So, what’s up? — Confused, driving around Chula Vista

Waa! Waa! Waa! Sensory overload! Distraction! Distraction! Brain log-off! Memory destruct! Way too much input. And there’s plenty of neurological research to explain what’s going on. Noise (including organized noise like music) shares some brain pathways with visual information. You instinctively reach for the knob in order to concentrate on one thing at a time. Tunes, especially loud, bass-thumping numbers, increase stress hormones. If you’re partying, that cortisol and adrenaline amp is called “fun.” When you’re late for a meeting, looking for an address, it’s called “stress.” And stress interferes with short-term memory, making it even harder to find that danged house number. You turn down the volume in self-defense. Your brain thanks you.

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Comments
8

Miranda wasn’t very silent, which is why everything hit the fan in the first place. Ernesto Miranda (a bloke, not a señorita) was arrested in 1963 for robbery. As long as he was at the police station anyway, I guess he figured it would be a good time to confess to a previous kidnapping and rape. Prosecutors had no trouble convicting him. Defense counsel filed an appeal, saying Miranda had not been advised that the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution gave him the right to refuse to incriminate himself by confessing. In 1966 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed. Miranda was retried in Arizona, omitting the confession, and he was convicted again.

Yes, Miranda's confession was excluded at re-trial and Miranda was again copnvicted, and served 4 years in state prison.

What most people do not know is that Miranda was killed in a knife fight in a bar the year after he was released from prison, in 1970.

Nov. 2, 2009

I always think it's a crack up when officers have to read the Miranda rights off a paper. I mean, really. Can't we all quote those, just from the amount of cop shows we've seen?

Regarding the radio and looking for an address...great scene in the movie Broadcast News. Albert Brooks' character is smart, but not good looking (and sweats). SO he doesn't get the great anchor job a dense William Hurt gets (he also gets his girl, Holly Hunter). But the one thing Brooks can do, that most can't? He sings Midnight Train to Georgia while reading a book, even uttering along to the chorus with "I can read/While I sing/'cause I'm smart/I can' do both". Great stuff.

Nov. 3, 2009

I always think it's a crack up when officers have to read the Miranda rights off a paper. I mean, really. Can't we all quote those, just from the amount of cop shows we've seen?

if a cop has to read miranda rights off a card then they need to find a new line of employment. seriously

The warnigns are so simple a 3rd grader could get it right-they don't have to be word for word either.

1) right to remain silent 2) if you talk your staments can be used in court

3) right to lawyer 4) can't afford lawyer one will be provided.

Nov. 3, 2009

Actually, surfpuppy, Miranda wasn't paroled until 1972 after serving about 1/3 of his original sentence. Over the next couple of yrs he was arrested several times. One of those arrests was for the possession of a gun. The charges were dropped, but because this violated his parole he was sent back to Arizona State Prison for another year. After being released he was killed in a bar fight, but it wasn't until 1976. It's always been interesting to me that both William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Conner were practicing law in Phoenix at the time and were both were on the bench when SCOTUS reviewed Dickerson v. U.S., which dealt with 18 U. S. C. §3501 which allowed a confession to be admitted into evidence if it is found to be voluntary, even if the defendant was not given the Miranda warning. The Court held “that Miranda, being a constitutional decision of this Court, may not be in effect overruled by an Act of Congress.”

Nov. 3, 2009

Fumbler, your fan club has spoken. See comment 115 and beyond. What say you?

Nov. 3, 2009

After being released he was killed in a bar fight, but it wasn't until 1976.

My bad, 1976 it is then.

Nov. 3, 2009

Was he read his Miranda Rights by the murderer prior to the stabbing? If not,he should've had the stabbing overturned.

Nov. 3, 2009

That was funny, amj. I was going to ask if he was ever out, and had to have police read him the miranda rights. And did they say "I'm going to read you your...well, I guess you already know them."

Nov. 4, 2009

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