Confined at home, children losing sleep over binge gaming

With schools and colleges yet to begin, parents have started to complain about their children losing sleep due to online shooting gaming during nights.

Published: 14th September 2020 02:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2020 03:00 PM   |  A+A-

Online Gaming is becoming popular in India.

For representational purposes

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  Ten hours – that’s how much time children are into ‘binge gaming’ these days.  Day is now night for children who are staying put at home as schools and colleges are shut due to the pandemic. 
They are now binge gaming on their mobile phones in the night and sleeping during the day!  

With schools and colleges yet to begin, parents have started to complain about their children losing sleep due to online shooting gaming during nights. An increase in cases of binge gaming among children is being reported at the National Institute Of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) SHUT Clinic ( Services for Healthy Use of Technology).

Dr Manoj Sharma, Chief Clinical Psychologist at SHUT Clinic, stated that while cases of binge watching which were earlier common, where people would stream series for hours together, it is now binge gaming by children.

“More than 120 minutes of watching any web series was stated as binge watching which was a cause of concern. Internationally, children playing for over five hours a day was termed binge gaming. However, in India, we are seeing children on their phones for more than 10 hours and mostly playing during the night losing their sleep, which is the real cause of concern as it could affect their mental health,” said Dr Sharma. He stated that he has been observing an increase in cases of parents complaining of children losing sleep due to gaming after the pandemic started.   

Children not productive during the day, say parents

“Many children are found sleeping the entire day without doing any productive work. In March and April, we hardly got any cases. However from May, the cases started to increase. Earlier, I would get five-seven cases per week. But now it’s 15. Most of the cases are of children in the age group of 15-18. With schools or colleges shut, they play the entire night,” Dr Sharma said.

The parents complain that their children are playing excessively and are not productive in daily activities. They say there is a verbal and non-verbal expression of anger when they ask the children not to play.
However, children think that night play enhances their skills development.

“Generally night play happens with the international players and the children think playing with them helps in skill development. For them, the games help them fulfil psychological needs. As during lockdown, many are even now unable to meet their pals. So through gaming, they talk and fulfil communication.

Secondly, the need for achievement is fulfilled – while they do not get appreciated at home or in schools, they, however, get appreciation from the team members in the game. Lastly, with communication and appreciation, their self-esteem increases, which in turn pushes them more into the virtual world. But if this is stopped, it leads to anger manifestation,” said Dr Sharma. On the treatment, Dr Sharma said, “We try to enhance their motivation to improve skills and focus on sleep, help them take decisions and enhance family communication and support.”


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