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Think about those lazy summer afternoons when your parents would like to take a nap while you would be scurrying around with your cousins, riding a bicycle, or playing hide and seek.
Then when school would start, you would try your best to finish off your homework as soon as possible, so that you could join your friends for games outdoors. You would play endlessly and no one wanted to be back home. Eventually, parents would have to drag you indoors for dinner.
Fast forward to the 21st century. Do you see your child wanting to go out and play at any given time? When she/he is back from school, is there a rush to finish the homework or is there a rush to grab their favourite video game gadget?
I’m sure, for most parents, the second part of the question stands true. This, my dear folks, is the sorry state of affairs with the children of this century. Their minds, their souls, and their bodies are completely enchained by this devil called VIDEO GAME!
Let me enlist a few adverse effects this villain has on our children.
1. It makes them obese: Obesity, which was never a concern for Indian parents is now quite apparent in every third home. An old adage goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” These
These days however, work has been replaced by video games and since children just don’t want to play outdoors, there is no physical activity for them, thereby making them dull. Go and conduct a survey and you’ll see that 98 out of 100 children will prefer to play video games rather than play outdoors. Video games have reduced the mobility of children. They sit in one place for hours together and this leads them to obesity.
2. No bonding with friends: Remember the times, when we would visit friends’ houses. We would turn the whole house upside down, running around the place, screaming and laughing all the time.
Now observe when your child goes to his friend’s house. Notice the difference? The whole group of children would either be hovering over one gadget or worse still, be sitting in various corners of the same room, playing video games on their own gadgets. It is indeed shocking!
These days there is no bond that exists among friends which does not have that devil video game between them. If at all they talk to each other, it is about which video game they play, what’s their highest score, which level are they at, etc etc. Gone are the days when friendships thrived on so many other priceless, yet valuable things.
3. Reduced interaction with parents: Parents often like to talk to their children about how their day went. Children, on the other hand, are just not interested in wasting their precious time talking to their parents, when they could rather catch hold of some ‘Pokemon’ in that time. It is hurtful to see children completely involved in their gadget refusing to take their eyes off while parents watch them with helpless affection in their eyes.
4. Poor vocabulary: This might seem to be an unlikely one, but it definitely surfaces. As children spend hours playing video games, which do not involve any talking, they are unable to develop a good vocabulary. Try striking up a conversation with children these days and more often than not, you will see them fumbling with words, unable to use the right word at the right time.
5. Relationship issues: In earlier days, if a child was hesitant or shy, parents would ensure that he goes out, interacts with other children, makes friends and comes out of his shell. Eventually, however quiet a child would be, he would manage to make at least a few friends with whom he would be comfortable. This was a baby step towards making a person confident of making relationships at a later stage. Sadly, the devil Video Game has made this worse. Shy and quiet children seek refuge in video games and thwart any effort to socialise. They prefer to live in a cocoon. As a result, when they grow up, they become completely unsociable and find it difficult to maintain relationships.
Sadly, the devil Video Game has made this worse. Shy and quiet children seek refuge in video games and thwart any effort to socialise. They prefer to live in a cocoon. As a result, when they grow up, they become completely unsociable and find it difficult to maintain relationships.
6. Poor eyesight: One cannot ignore the fact, that graphic movement, fluctuating light, rays emerging from the screen, all add up to causing strain to the eyes. Visit any school and 8 out of 10 children will be seen wearing spectacles. This is the result of playing video games on gadgets from such close proximity.
7. Violent and aggressive behaviour: When children play violent video games, sooner or later, it reflects in their behaviour as well. There is so much of bloodshed in these games that over a period of time, this bloodbath appears perfectly normal to these children. Some games even use actual looking guns to kill people. Sometimes the protagonist goes hacking people with an axe.
When they kill or behead someone, they gain points and are promoted to the next level. Does that mean that we are telling children that there is nothing wrong with this inhumane behaviour?
That killing or hacking people to death should be rewarded? It is commonly seen that children who play such violent video games, tend to become extremely aggressive and violent themselves. They are at such an impressionable age that these things have a long-lasting impact on their minds.
8. Addiction: This one according to me, is the most serious one. Without realising, children keep falling into the trap of video games and soon it becomes an addiction for them. Try taking away that gadget from your child and you will be shocked to see what follows. Your child will try all ways and means to get that video game back from you. He will emotionally manipulate you, might throw tantrums, stop doing everything else and eventually his behaviour will compel you to give it back. Doesn’t this sound like addiction to you? Well, to me it definitely does.
Your child will try all ways and means to get that video game back from you. He will emotionally manipulate you, might throw tantrums, stop doing everything else and eventually his behaviour will compel you to give it back. Doesn’t this sound like addiction to you? Well, to me it definitely does.
According to Child and Youth Health, “Young gamers have shown similar symptoms to people who have drug or alcohol dependence – an inability to stop playing, and withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, agitation) if they go without access to their gaming 'fix'.” (Child and Youth Health)
Having discussed the adverse effects of gaming, we now need to discuss what needs to be done. How we, as parents, can help our children?
To start with, it is quite difficult. Though not impossible, yet it is difficult to take out the deep claws of video games, dug into the skin of our children. So, we, as parents need to start right with ourselves.
1.Lead by example: If you, yourself turn to video games to ease stress, stop right now. Children follow the example of their parents and most often when they see that their parents are themselves happily playing video games, they see no reason why they cannot play. So, give up the habit and lead by example.
2. Encourage your child to take up a sport: These days, cities are flooded with world class sports clubs, where you can enrol your child into some sport of his choice. By doing so, the child will slowly develop an interest in the game and will not turn towards video game for passing time.
3. Spend more time with your child: Try to spend more time with your child. You could play with them, go for a stroll, read out their favourite story book to them or just do anything silly. The entire aim of this exercise is to make your child realise that video game is not the ultimate source of entertainment. There’s much more to life than video games.
Little things, these are, but they go a long way in saving the future of our children. The onus of protecting our children from the clutches of this devil lies on us and we must do all we can to do so.
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Hailing from the hills, Shivangi Kaushik Dikshit is married to a man from the high seas. Her world revolves around her adorable son.
-Editorial Type Attachment Parenting Better parenting Family Life Parenting Advice Parenting Teens Parenting Toddlers Positive Parenting