Joystick of pain, gaming addiction up 30 per cent

According to Nimhans, youngsters who had reduced it with therapy, get back to old habits during lockdown
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

BENGALURU:  Lockdown may be a practical way to halt the raging coronavirus. But it has its own side effects, particularly psychological. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) has seen a 30 per cent spike in gaming addiction, with youngsters who had reduced it with therapies, getting back to old habits amid the lockdown.

The NIMHANS SHUT (Services for Healthy Use of Technology) Clinic which deals with cases of gaming, pornography and social media addiction has seen the spike in the age group of 16-20 years who get hooked to games like PUBG, FIFA and Counter-Strike. Dr Manoj Sharma, professor of clinical psychology said as the clinic is closed down now, worried people have been sending him e-mails seeking ways to stop their children from gaming addition. 

Those who had reduced their gaming duration to six hours from 12 hours a day are now again spending half the day on it, he said. Citing an example, he said the attempts to rehabilitate a 16-year-old boy who had been addicted to gaming had, in fact, worsened the situation as the time he would spend on electronic gadgets went up to seven hours a day. But since the lockdown kicked in, he has been spending 8-10 hours day on gaming.  

“There has been an increased indulgence in gaming during the lockdown... We advise their parents on how to control the pattern. Now even the gaming industry has come out with many discounts and offers. They are happy to pay and download at lower costs”, Dr Kumar said. Kumar suggested a solution to divert youngsters’ attention away from gaming during the stay-home period. Working parents who could not spend quality time during normal days can now engage their children in various activities, he said.

“They are asked to spend more time with their children and plan their sleep routine. They are asked to involve them in indoor games or other activities with some relaxation exercises”, he said. Addition to gaming has also gone up by 15 percent in individuals aged 30-40 years, he said, adding that viewing of pornographic videos too has seen a rise.

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