Limiting the gaming addiction among Children
The Covid-19 pandemic pushed everyone’s lifestyle to go virtual. Every individual struggled in their ways to maintain socialization, work, and keep their mind at peace. However, it took a huge toll on children and adolescents as for them their entire education shifted online and it was hard to restrict oneself from playing outside and seeing their friends. Staying indoors became tough and thus, they found a solution to it, ‘Online Gaming’.
Reports revealed that there has been an increase in the number of children signing up for online gaming globally. They engage in all kinds of videogames ranging from cooking games for little girls to hunting and gunshot games. This has unknowingly exposed children to violence, killing, and death at a very young age affecting them adversely.
To combat this issue the Chinese government recently put restrictions on online gaming. They put limits on it and allowed them to play these games only three hours per week, one each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This decision has received a positive response from Chinese Parents as children are left with no option but to engage in other activities. However, this ban does not entirely solve the problem for internet provision is still there and can make them fall prey to social media. So what needs to be done is that parents set a proper screen time and spend more fun offline time with their kids.
The situation of online gaming addiction is similar in India. The popular games here include PUBG that ultimately the government had to ban, Call of Duty, Nintendo, Fifa, NBA, etc. The pandemic saw a surge here as well. The rise was even observed on YouTube gaming, Facebook gaming, game downloads from Playstore and Appstore, etc., especially among the millennials.
Limiting the game time is essential as it can affect children in negative ways. This finds evidence in games like Blue Whale where at the end of the game suicide cases were reported of those who played. Gaming soon becomes a dominant activity as one begins to enjoy it a lot and try to step your game up. It helps reduce stress and anxiety according to the person and therefore is difficult to get over DSM-5 recently recognized gaming addiction defining it as, ‘gaming is an addiction only if it causes "significant impairment or distress" in several aspects of a person's life. It is a way to be social, a diversion from one’s boring daily activities, and an escape from an unhealthy home environment. Often it begins with a curiosity to explore the game but later on turns into an addiction.
Gaming addiction can lead to disinterest/lack of motivation in every possible daily activity. It has also become a leading cause of violence, hyperactivity, and rise in aggression levels among children. It not only takes a toll on mental health but also on physical health. As children do not engage in an actual physical activity it can cause weakening of bones and muscles, affect sensory organs due to excessive screen time and also result in an improper sleep schedule. In severe cases, it causes issues with cognition and learning abilities and puts children at risk of developing neurotic and mood disorders.
One can help get over all this by trying to understand ‘Why gaming’ and writing down the cause. Identification is very important for acceptance and change. Then one can try talking about this to their guardians, making a list of what other activities one can do to keep themselves busy. Parents can act as pillars of support here and spend more time with their children helping them.