Over-Indulgence Makes Gaming a National Issue

by February 4, 2019 0 comments


After Prime Minister Narendra Modi answered an exasperated mother’s question about her son’s video game addiction talking about PUBG, that is, Player Unknown Battlegrounds, he endeared himself to some by his knowledge of it. But the mother’s question ahead of the board examination is one that has worried parents for years on end. Video games have been around for four decades now and millions of children have been drawn into their lure over the years. However, given the massive explosion of data and smartphones in India, the largescale adoption of games by ever-growing numbers of children is making this a national issue. So much so that one student has petitioned a court to ban the game. Of course, that is essentially a headline-grabbing cause but the issue is real. And it is not as if other nations have not faced such problems. In America and Japan, the epidemic of video games has been going on ever since such games were invented. In China and South Korea the play mania is so acute that de-addiction centres have become big business.

Banning video games or petitions to prohibit them are pointless. Better parenting and support from educational authorities are the only solutions for now. A ban will just drive players underground as they will find other sources for accessing those games. It will be as pointless as the ban on pornographic sites. But since this is a problem created by technology, can it help solve it? Already both Apple and Google have apps that can limit total screen time on a smartphone and these can be programmed further to limit time on apps as well. Just like some adults need to spend less time on Facebook and Twitter and these limiting apps can achieve that, teenagers can be told to spend less time on games. Any intervention has to be through education, both family and institutional. Children will have to be taught the risks of what happens if they spend far too much time on video games, like vision impairment. They must be told over-indulgence is not healthy like any bad habit. Sure, some children will still get addicted and will find something else to get hooked on to and much like China and South Korea, digital de-addiction centres will spring up across India too. But there is a silver lining to all this. Over the past three-odd years, e-gaming has become a huge sport where teams of gamers take on each other for huge sums of prize money and even national pride. So much so that now even the International Olympic Committee is considering e-games as a future Olympic event. So you never know, the 13-year old plugging away on his mobile phone killing zombies could be a future Olympic medallist.

Writer and Courtesy: The Pioneer

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