No child’s game

With cy­ber ac­tiv­i­ties re­plac­ing the phys­i­cal ones, it is wise to pro­tect your fu­ture wealth from fall­ing vic­tim to this nui­sance.

Alive - - News - by Un­mana Dutta

Be­ing a psy­cho­log­i­cal con­sul­tant, par­ents of­ten come to me and com­plain about online gam­ing be­hav­iours in their chil­dren and the time they spend use­lessly in these ac­tiv­i­ties. It is shock­ingly sur­pris­ing to see that more and more chil­dren are be­com­ing ad­dicted to in­ter­net gam­ing. This has taken a toll on their aca­demics, life­style and their so­cial in­ter­ac­tions.

The Di­ag­nos­tic & Sta­tis­ti­cal Man­ual-V of Men­tal Dis­or­ders is con­sid­er­ing in­ter­net gam­ing disor­der as a se­ri­ous ad­dic­tion but still has not given it a for­mal cod­ing to it and is de­mand­ing fur­ther re­search on it to state it as a full cri­te­rion to in­clude it among the men­tal dis­or­ders.

Ac­cord­ing to DSM-V cri­te­ria, In­ter­net Gam­ing disor­der is a per­sis­tent and re­cur­rent use of In­ter­net to en­gage in games, of­ten with other players, lead­ing to

sig­nif­i­cant clin­i­cal dis­tress. It also leads the child to be pre­oc­cu­pied with In­ter­net games through­out the day and it be­comes a ma­jor part of daily ac­tiv­i­ties.

The ad­dicted person would lose interest in all other ac­tiv­i­ties and hob­bies, and would show symp­toms of with­drawal when not al­lowed to play, such as ir­ri­ta­ble be­hav­iour, anx­i­ety or sad­ness.

They some­times would know the neg­a­tive con­se­quences of the gam­ing be­hav­iour, but still would need more and more time to play in or­der to feel sa­ti­ated. They some­times lose im­por­tant op­por­tu­ni­ties and re­la­tion­ships be­cause of their par­tic­i­pa­tion in In­ter­net games.

Of­ten In­ter­net Gam­ing starts with the mo­tive of fun and en­ter­tain­ment, and slowly more and more time is spent on it. More­over, it is played to dis­tract one­self from the things hap­pen­ing around one self. In­ter­net gam­ing is a way for many chil­dren as well as adults to do away with so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, due to lack of self es­teem.

Re­search has found that some adults and ado­les­cence en­gage into online video games and play with players around the world in or­der to gain ap­proval over peo­ple vir­tu­ally and avoid so­cial in­ter­ac­tion with them. Once a player gains pop­u­lar­ity with the game around the peo­ple, there is a high chance that the person will con­tinue play­ing the game over a long pe­riod of time.

More­over, some chil­dren start play­ing video games be­cause the par­ents wanted them to play for some time, so that they can do the house­hold chores, when the child is busy in a vir­tual world of games.

It is re­ally im­por­tant to un­der­stand few signs of the child to know if he or she is ac­tu­ally ad­dicted to the online video games.

Your child’s life will be sur­rounded by video games. He will talk about his games and how he played it and will keep plan­ning on his next op­por­tu­nity to play. Aca­demic per­for­mance of your child will suf­fer.

Never use it for your ben­e­fit

It is re­ally im­por­tant for the par­ents to un­der­stand that let­ting your child play video games and do­ing the house­hold chores in peace will give your tem­po­rary hap­pi­ness, and later this might turn into a dis­tress for you when the child’s video games be­come an ad­dic­tion for him.

Start grad­u­ally

If your child is al­ready ad­dicted to the online video games, start the cut­ting down of the time spent in the video games grad­u­ally. Each time you start lim­it­ing the time of play­ing, give some­thing dif­fer­ent for the child to en­gage in, such as an out­ing with fam­ily, out­door play time with friends, etc.

Set a time

The time for play­ing online should be set. The child must play in those times when the par­ents are avail­able at home and that time pe­riod should be de­cided with the con­sent of the child as well.

‘State’ be­fore Gam­ing starts

Be­fore the child starts play­ing video game, the child must be told about

PROVOCA­TIVE EF­FECTS Ev­i­dence also sug­gests that chil­dren who play too much of video games of­ten be­come im­pul­sive and lose self-con­trol when pro­voked un­der any cir­cum­stance. To ef­fec­tively man­age the Gam­ing be­hav­iour in the chil­dren, it is re­ally im­por­tant to have some set bound­aries fixed for both the child as well as the par­ents.

the tim­ings of the game pe­riod that he will be al­lowed to play for that day. This may lead the child to show ir­ri­ta­ble be­hav­iour and ag­gres­sive ten­den­cies, but this could be some­times ig­nored and could be some­times at­tended to with some dif­fer­ent and thrilling ac­tiv­ity.

Re­mind few min­utes be­fore the ‘set time’ will end

Just 10-15 min­utes be­fore, re­mind the child that their online video game-time is about to get over, and re­mind them of what they had planned to do ear­lier af­ter the online video gam­ing is over. This helps the child pre­pare them­selves to stop play­ing the game and helps them pre­pare men­tally for the next task.

Let your child face con­se­quences

If your child does not fol­low the time set by you, then let him face con­se­quences. This could be done in ways like not al­low­ing him to get a candy when he wants to, not let­ting him touch the com­puter sys­tem for the next few days, etc.

School work first

Lim­it­ing time and let­ting your child play online video games as a re­ward for com­plet­ing the school work, can some­times make the child pro-ac­tive in com­plet­ing the work. How­ever, it can be used as a trick only once in a while, and not ev­ery day.

“Play in the com­mon room” rule

No child should be al­lowed to play online video games in their own rooms, away from the no­tice of the adults. These prac­tices of let­ting the chil­dren play in the com­mon room in the pres­ence of other adults would help the par­ents and guardians to keep a check on the con­tent of the games the child is play­ing. The par­ents must also keep a check if the game has been pro­mot­ing vi­o­lence to­wards any fe­male (or male) sub­ject, and if there are any ob­jec­tion­able change in the be­hav­iour of the child, it must be ad­dressed im­me­di­ately.

Teach them to save their un­fin­ished games

Some games have the op­tion of sav­ing their scores and start­ing next point from where it ended the pre­vi­ous day. Ex­plain to your child that no game can be com­pleted in a day. So if the child saves the game where it got over, they can con­tinue play­ing it from the same point the next day as well. This will make the ex­pe­ri­ence of switch­ing off the video game less dif­fi­cult for the child.

Have fam­ily time to­gether

Some­times the ex­pe­ri­ence of video games can be used pos­i­tively by the en­tire fam­ily play­ing it to­gether. This could act as a stress booster for many par­ents at the end of the day and could be a time for the child when he en­joys the com­pany of his fam­ily and his sib­lings.

In­ter­net gam­ing has been a se­ri­ous prob­lem in many young chil­dren and ado­les­cents now. The par­ents have to play a ma­jor role in iden­ti­fy­ing if their child is ad­dicted to the video games. The in­ten­sity of the prob­lem could be suc­cess­fully treated by the pro­fes­sional psy­chol­o­gists and coun­sel­lors, be­fore this could be­come a se­ri­ous men­tal health is­sue.

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