Weapons of minor destruction

A new study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) shows massive increases in the amount of acute computer-related injuries, particularly at home and for children under age 5.

The study, which will be published in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that injuries from computers increased by 732 percent from 1994 to 2006. About 9,300 people each year suffer a computer-related injury, ranging from minor bruises to head injuries.

The authors found that 93 percent of the injuries occurred at home and that the computer monitor was most often to blame. The leading cause of injury for adults was hitting or getting caught on part of a computer, which accounted for 37 percent of cases. Approximately 21 percent of injuries were due to falling computer equipment. Children’s injuries were typically the result of climbing on or playing near a computer. Children under five years old had the highest injury rates – making up 13.4 percent of all computer-related injuries. The most frequent type of injury for all age groups was laceration (39 percent).

One reason for this soaring rate of computer-related injuries is clearly the increasing number of households with computers; however, Time explains that

“…more households not only have computers but also have multiple computers and, therefore, multiple opportunities for injury. Another theory suggested by the researchers is that the democratization of computer access — as equipment has gotten cheaper — has resulted in increased ownership by new computer users or by people with less education in using the technology, who may be more prone to accidents and misuse.”

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