Today, if you look around yourself in the society, every child and teenager seems to be busy on electronic devices like mobiles, laptops and computer. They are wasting their precious time in useless activities like using social media and playing video games every time.Since 1950, video gaming has developed into a multi billion dollar industry and it is progressing rapidly day by day. It is a matter of grave concern for parents.
What is Gaming Addiction?
We can simply understand it as irresistible and uncontrollable usage of video games. Often, it is characterized as a form of internet addiction. It disturbs the routine life of addicts due to its time consuming nature. Children and teenagers are an easy prey to this kind of addiction.
In a medical reference book, named as International classification of Diseases, World Health Organization (WHO) mentioned the gaming disorder as a disease in 2018.
Is video gaming addictive? Can it cause aggressive behavior? As the research is not yet complete there is no solid conclusion. However, it is evident from studies carried out on it that it is addictive in nature and can cause aggressive behavior.
Concerning Signs and Symptoms:
Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental disorders (DSM) mentioned the following symptoms as waning and threat of addiction. The affected person must have 5 of the following symptoms for a period of one year.
-Most of the thoughts related to gaming
-Feeling relentless when not playing games
-Playing games for the purpose of relieving bad mood
-Telling lies regarding the time spent on gaming
-Unable to reduce the gaming time
-Reduced performance at school, college or work
-Continuously working without resting
However, it is not necessary that persons having some of the above mentioned symptoms are necessarily addicts. Rather some reports show that in US almost 1 to 9 percent of the the game players with symptoms met the criteria of addiction.
Statistical data related to game addiction:
A survey conducted in Japan in March 2019 revealed that 85 percent of the people aged between 10 to 29 year played video games on console or PC during the past 12 months.
Another survey conducted in Japan said that 29 percent of the people who used to play video games 6 hours daily had experienced loss of interest in their other activities of routine life like sports,exercises and so on.
Harmful effects of Video Gaming:
According to World Health Organization (WHO) report of 2018 video games are harmful to human health as well as brain.
Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, who is the writer of Glow Kids and also had worked with drug addicts, says that it is comparatively easier to cure the drug addicts than screen addicts. Harmful effects of video games include:
-development of aggressive behavior especially in children
-risk of light induced seizures
-withdrawal from social circle
-increased metabolic rate
-muscle weakness and disorders due to immobility
-obesity as a consequence of lack of exercise
Moreover, researches have shown that the person addicted to gaming has poorer mental health as compared to those who are not addicted to gaming. Neck, wrist and elbow pains are common in gaming addicts. Gaming addiction may also lead to sleep disorders, numbness in hands and blood clotting.
How to overcome and control Gaming Addiction:
If you as a parent are concerned about the gaming addiction of your child, you can handle it by noticing his activities with his friends at school and his behavior also. If he is getting good grades and his relationship with you is pretty well, then no need to worry. But if you are parent of a gaming addict, then therapist can tell you limits you have to put on your child to cure his disorder.
Furthermore, following precautionary measures can be taken to cure and overcome gaming addiction.
-being a parent you can impose restrictions on the gaming time of your child which must be strictly followed.
-monitor the activities of your child
-talk your child and keep him aware of the harmful effects of gaming addiction
-redirect the attention of your child to positive activities like sports, cycling and so on.
-keep gadgets related to gaming away from bed room to avoid their usage at late night.
Psychological techniques involve Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This therapy is focused on teaching the addicts how to recognize and modify the inaccurate thought patterns to tackle varying situations in life.
Gaming addiction is a rapidly growing risk to mental health. As a parent you must restrict the gaming time of your child to a limited extent in order to save him from destruction. You should develop his interest in positive and useful activities like book reading, sports and gardening. It will boost his health and performance at school as well.
If your child is at initial stage and not addicted to gaming, you must control him by taking above mentioned precautionary measures to save him from gaming addiction. Because, “Prevention is better than cure.”