COVID 19 has established the fact that the virus is impartial in demography and geography and the fact that it is a great level. The havoc, it has wrought, has not only created an impact on children’s mental health but has accounted for some of their lives too.
It is a well-known fact that an idle mind is the devil's workshop. This invisible yet potent organism has rendered us homebound and the kids are facing an acute challenge of being idle with nothing much to do for most of the day. With the proliferation of online games like PUBG and its easy access, kids are spoilt for choices and more ominously, they are fascinated and addicted to it. Part of the blame should fall on the parents, who are perennially busy with work from home and finding faults but what is the fault of children in all these. Parents get busy in their office or household work, and they give cell phones to their children so they will not disturb them.
In the technological world, where there is an unending boom in AI and gaming, it is inevitable not to be part of it. It can be a great source of entertainment and a mood relaxant with limited and appropriate use. It also can enhance one’s problem-solving skills. As parents are considered to be the first teacher, learning becomes fun when their parents help in them. To enhance the child’s innate ability and guiding them through multiple forms of activities available in the e-world, a responsible parent would do well to help a child with limited exposure but some parents of this generation have messed up the lives of their children. They know the consequences of playing video games but still parents do this blunder.
In an ideal scenario, this phase should have been the opportunity for the parents to strengthen their bond with their wards through better communication and a chance to shape the kid’s present and future with their warmth and affection. They could have exposed the kids to various forms of activities that help in their overall development like physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and moral development. Parents can help their children to learn different activities like- cooking, painting, any sport of their choice, solving different puzzles, improve their reading and communication skills but sadly, most of the parents have missed the bus.
Cause for gaming addiction
Recent studies indicate that loneliness is one of the fundamental grounds for online gaming addiction. The games are designed in such a way that it proves challenging for the kid’s thinking faculty, but tantalizingly simple that the kid is forced to keep coming back for more.
Impact of gaming addiction on mental health
The games have consumed a lion’s share of the kid’s time that the child decides to priorities the same and forego the other daily activities and interests. The academic performance is also strongly correlated with gaming disorder. To put it mildly, these games can afflict a child with various side effects - excessive violence and aggressive behavior; less social interaction leading to social anxiety; insomnia; the dearth of time to perform mundane activities increases the risk of neuropsychiatric illness. Suffice to say, it compromises a child’s mental health.
Consequences of gaming addiction
Gaming addiction poised to spread during the pandemic lockdown. Mental health professionals are seeing a spike in video game addicted patients. The below case studies will provide a broader perspective on the adverse effects of gaming. In Jan 2020, Mr. Harshal Menane a 25-year old, in his prime of youth fatally suffereda brain stroke while playing PUBG. The cause of death, According to the physician, it was Intracerebral hemorrhaging – as it has induced a high level of excitement while playing the battle royal game. Harshal is no more now but he and his whole family is responsible for his untimely demise.
In March 2020, a 22 years old man in Bihar was admitted for the treatment after showing violent behavior with his family and close relatives. “The man’s father revealed that he was addicted to PUBG and had been upset after losing the game over the last three consecutive days.
Here is another case, In April 2020, A 13 years old boy in Patiala city of state Punjab, has committed suicide after his parents stopped him from playing mobile games.
In a newspaper, published by the International Journal of Health and Addiction,seven researchers from six universities trialed the new test with more than 550 gamers in the U.K. and China. Of those, 36 participants (6.4 percent) met the WHO's diagnostic criteria for gaming disorder. It is the highest study till this date on the condition. According to Statista.com, the market value of the gaming industry in India was around 62 billion in 2019. According to a KPMG report, the number of gamers in India is estimated at 300 million. This number is so high and is continuously increasing.
Safety measures for gaming addiction
In the current scenario and for future generations, constructive use of the internet is advisable, but the exposure can be reduced for the kids. As they say, A stitch in time saves nine, and as a responsible parent, you must play a major role to practice safe browsing. Some of the safety measures are:
Passwords: If certain websites or apps are promoting unhealthy habits and if a parent is forced to use the same for some specific purpose, the website has to be password protected. The password should be very strong.
Cyberbullying Awareness: Parents should make their kids aware of the term Cyberbullying.
Limitations: Parents should prescribe a time-limit for internet usage.
If you are also a parent of the child who is addicted to games on the internet. We must understand this thing that like smoking and drinking, gaming is also an addiction. Don't ignore this fact that your child is spending his precious time in playing video games, this will affect his eyes, physical health, and most importantly mental health. Parents must notice what their child is doing on his cell phone or laptop. You should start spending quality time with your children. If you need any help regarding this, feel free to connect your expert Parenting and Child Behaviour Experts to help you out with more and more preventive and safety measures.