After COVID the world has shifted from physical to digital world where people have started preferring online shopping, e-education, likewise youngsters are indulging more in online gaming instead of outdoor activities. The latest Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games (MMORPGs) are gaining popularity due to intensive social interaction through video, voice, text etc. however, this has pose risks to young people who can experience abuse/harassment online from other gamers, particularly when players are extensively engaged while playing online game.
Online gaming is getting rapid popularity among youngsters, hence, parents need to be well aware about negative impacts for better tackling the situation. In Pakistan, multiple incidents of suicides by teenagers, killing others in aggression by online gamers have been reported in media. The issue of violence and antisocial behavior arises due to excessive online games playing as concluded by different researchers. Mr. Arthur Cassidy, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, says that growing attachment to gaming devices among children leads to suicide or self-harm. Many other research studies have shown that children’s excessive involvement in online gaming deprives them from physical activities therefore they face problems like isolation, introversion, misbehaving with other family members, sleeping disorder, anxiety, depression etc.
Online gaming addiction mainly occurs due to less attention by parents. The kids who suffer loneliness, get an instant relief by playing online games. It takes them away from reality to fantasy and an imaginary world where everything seems to be controlled by their thoughts and imagination. Resultantly, they get frustrated, leads them to violence, self-harm and even raises suicidal thoughts. Besides, chances of getting blackmailed, bullying by others (both offline and online) and theft of personal information also increase while playing online games with online predators.
Parents need to be extremely conscious w.r.t online activities of kids by opting following workable measures:
- Always spare time for your kids and even involve them in their social activities. Prove yourself as a best friend so that kids may inform you timely in case they encounter any online danger.
- Always encourage and arrange physical activities for your kids plus choose schools having facilities for outdoor activities. Parents should be well aware of their kids’ friends especially about their character, behaviors etc.
- Before purchasing online games, parents need to check ratings of the games from concerned departments like the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) and then accordingly select appropriate games as per age of the kid.
- Initially, parents should also play online games with children so as to understand the content of the game as well as reaction of the children while playing the game.
- For having a better eye on kid’s online activities, computers are placed in common areas. Instead of giving a new mobile on a permanent basis to your kids, it is better to give them your own mobile solely for that particular purpose on a temporary basis. This will ensure a direct check on their activities.
- Teach your kids not to share personal information like passwords, bank accounts, and pictures with anyone else.
- Learn and implement parental control features to implement time limits, website restrictions, and permit safe applications for kids.
By: Muhammad Farooq, Director PTA