Dr,Danish Fayaz Nika
Who doesn’t love to play, may it be outdoor or indoors, physically or on a mobile phone. Through constant research and effort in the field of entertainment, lots of games have been developed to ‘’entertain” us. Well, there has been a change in the trend in the purpose of the same from a couple of years which needs to be understood and demands keen attention.
Children remaining preoccupied with internet gaming which is propelled by several causes like easy availability of internet facilities, , working parents and consequently no check on them, a sense of thrill in playing internet games, the sense of being ‘cool’ and a tendency of internet gaming to relieve negative mood .
The children subsequently develop ”Tolerance” i.e. the need to spend more time in gaming to satisfy their urge, inability to reduce playing time, unsuccessful attempts to quit it leading to the development of the vicious cycle demanding more and more playtime and continuing gaming despite problems. They give up activities which they once used to find interesting. Their physical interactions and physical conversations decrease with time resulting in tremendous lack of development of social skills and moral values making them incapacitated to withstand any social pressures in life. Lack of physical activity due to sedentary life style may lead to obesity, anxiety and decrease in their overall performance . Spending more time in gaming has a big opportunity cost to the detriment of their normal education and physical development. They may also suffer from eye problems, decreased sleep (late night awakenings), decreased appetite leading to nutritional illness like anaemia , backaches due to wrong posture during gaming etc. A significant amount of advanced and more thrilling features in gaming with every passing against payment leads to instant need of money which children might acquire by wrong means.
‘Prevention is better than cure’ . Well, its now we need to develop an insight into this ill practice of gaming and encourage physical activities, give children the time they deserve, help them with the day to day tasks and problems with love and compassion.
Once involved, the children should never be compelled to stop gaming suddenly as it may result in withdrawal symptoms like sadness , anxiety and irritability. A stepped approach must be followed which should include proper counselling by the parents, providing them with a substitute to gaming like a hobby or an art and subsequently should be rewarded for the same. A few might need Psychiatric consultation.
This new trend of gaming has taken heavy toll on children and adolescents in this part of world too and most of the times we find the youth preoccupied with gaining expertise drowning themselves into hypothetical realm of gaming rather than paying attention to the real world problems and other issues. At times it takes the shape of intense restlessness and compulsive urge to play any time, anywhere or at any cost and it is here, the role of a mental health professional fits in, otherwise it will turn into a disabling addiction just like other drug addictions.
WHO has announced ‘’gaming disorder’’ as a new disorder in the upcoming edition of ICD (11th revision) although it has already been recognised in countries like South Korea and China where different treatment plans have been formulated.
Children are our future and need to be guided to the right path. ‘’Excess of everything is bad But excess of Gaming is disastrous.’’