Jaipur: Rajasthani parents and teachers have been advised not to let their children become addicted to online games, which is known as ‘gaming disorder’.
Online gaming has become very popular among children in this age of advanced technology. The closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the use of mobile devices and internet among children, and as a result, the trend of online gaming among children has grown rapidly. The education department released a statement stating that these online games can be easily accessed by children and can be played on devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones. The games are designed in such a way that they excite the player to the point of passion to continue. As a result, players become addicted and eventually suffer from gaming disorders, affecting their educational and social life, according to the release.
In an advisory issued by the Rajasthan School Education Council, effective ways to overcome the negative effects of online gaming have been shared in order to prevent the rapidly increasing negative effects of online gaming on children.
In the advisory, parents and teachers are given tips to help them safeguard their children against online gaming addiction. ‘The parents and teachers are asked to keep a watch if the child is behaving abnormally and whether they are mostly involved in online activities. They must also watch out for a sudden increase in the time spent online, especially on social media or if they switch the screen or the window on being or turn aggressive after using the internet,’ the advisory stated.
According to Dr. Ashok Gupta, a child specialist, too much screen time has resulted in physical and mental illnesses among children such as obesity, depression, anxiety, insomnia, sleep disorders and stress disorders. ‘We need to make proactive intervention, control and move them from online to real-time. The children need to be associated with sports,’ he said.
Prakash Mishra, spokesperson for the Rajasthan Teacher Association (Shekhawat), said, ‘Children are into mobile and screen for a long these days which not only affects their eyes but also their attention and development of the brain – this leads to irritation and aggressive nature. Due to the pandemic, they were into mobiles. In school, they play together, study, and eat together, which strengthens their social behaviour.’
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Poonam Dhaiya, a mother of a 9-year-old boy, said, ‘due to the pandemic, the children who used to spend more time in playgrounds are now spending most of their time using mobile phones or laptops. They are only supposed to attend online classes but there are chances that they may dive into other activities like gaming, instead of completely focusing on class. The parents cannot watch their children all the time and this creates a scope for children to get engaged in other activities without any monitoring of elders.’
Keep an eye on the child’s grades and social behavior and notify school authorities. Establish an internet gateway at home so that it can be effectively monitored, logged, and used by the child, says the advisory. It also said to make sure the child has access to a computer in the family area.
The advisory instructs parents to install antivirus programs and firewalls and to configure their browsers safely. ‘Take a screenshot (pressing print screen on keyboard) if something goes wrong while playing the online game and ask children to use a screen name instead of the real name. Inform if a stranger initiates inappropriate talks or asks for personal details’.
As per the guidelines, children are not to use a webcam, personal messaging, or online chatting with strangers as it increases the chance of other players misbehaving or threatening them.