Impact of Online Games | Should Parents be Concerned?

High internet speed, busy parents, and lack of reading habits has led the young generation get hooked to the online gaming world. With the internet connecting the world, it exposes the child to paedophiles, hackers, blackmailers, etc. Video games in a pre-digital era were without the inter-connectivity of the internet. The games were played in a room with friends and family members. With the digital revolution, games have become more connected and violent. We are trying to convey the Impact of online games on young minds and the guidelines to all parents to overcome from this impact.

Fascinating world of online games

Teens and adults find online games fascinating and gripping because:

  • They can challenge anyone around the world.
  • The ranking is given considering players around the world.
  • It gives a sense of achievement every time they complete a level.

Researchers have shown that playing videos games are beneficial as they help in hand-eye coordination, decision-making ability, spatial ability, etc. However, this false sense of achievement and security can give rise to online gaming addiction.

Online Gaming Addiction:

Online gaming addiction is a known addiction in Japan and many families have run away children because of this addiction. A research was done by Indian Journal Psychiatry,  in which 987 adolescents took part, 681 (68.9%) were female and 306 (31.1%) were males. This study evaluated candidates based on internet usage, anxiety, depression, and anxiety depression. Of the total, about 74.5% were moderate (average) users, 24.8% as possible addicts, and 0.7% as addicts.

Violence and Profanity:

Some of the most popular online games are laden with profanity, suggestive nudity, and violence. For example, one of the most popular games called Grand Theft Auto 2 is promoted as a game for teenagers but is far from that. It promotes violent behaviour, foul language, intense graphics and is sexually explicit.

Another combat game called Wolfenstein is bloody, gory and has ample violence, strong language, use of drugs and explicit sexual content.

Some names can mislead the parents. Games such as South Park and Naughty Bear are nothing like their names. Naughty Bear is about a sociopathic bear who beats up peers until they commit suicide.

Such violent games promote imaginative suicide and mismanagement of anger. Research shows that at some point, teenagers were found to be numb to hostile behaviour or violence. Online gaming can also affect a child’s social life. A gamer is so immersed in the game that eventually he would want to be excluded from all social gatherings or even avoid meeting his friends. Not to mention, the effect it has on academics.

Also read: Confused figuring out how to raise a teenager? Try These

What Can Parents Do to Avoid Online Gaming Addiction:

Your child is your top priority. Build a connection with him that is so strong and open that conversations are fluid. Then the Impact of online games on young minds may divert towards you. Your child should know that you care and are there to help.

concern about child

Some of the things that a parent can do are:

  1. Learn everything that is there about the internet. Know how online games and social media works.
  2. Make sure your child knows that the right to play online games is a privilege and not a right. It should be allowed in the form of a reward rather than an everyday activity.
  3. Limit the time. Let them know that they can’t supplement time for outdoor games with online games.
  4. All the games should be approved by you. When your child asks for a game, research and find out more about the content of the game and then decide whether it is appropriate for your child or not.
  5. Wait at least 3-4 weeks after the launch of a new game to buy it. Till then, find out more about the content and dig for reviews. Some gamers have youtube channels where they review games. These reviews will give you enough information about whether the newly launched game is child appropriate or not. 
  6. Computers and consoles should not be present in the child’s room.
  7. Restrict Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) even if they fall under the age group. These games are known to be highly addictive.

Set boundaries that will help create a balance between some downtime and activities so that a child does not feel deprived of the gaming experience. 

Also read: 5 ways to understand teenagers better

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