In India, 88 per cent of youth up to the age of 23 believe that they prefer to play online games more than any other activity to pass the time. There is no harm in playing online games for a while for a hobby or to pass the time but the problem arises when this hobby turns into a bad habit which is called Gaming Addiction.
Keeping this in mind, the Delhi Government has issued an advisory for all the schools and parents. But in India, this problem is not only of any one state or city, crores of parents of India are troubled by this addiction of their children. So first, let us tell you about the advisory issued to the schools of Delhi and the parents of the children studying in these schools. Then we will raise the question of why the addiction of online gaming has turned into a national problem and what can be done to avoid it.
The Delhi government has said in its advisory that parents and teachers should tell children that playing online games continuously for several hours can have a bad effect on their physical and mental health. Apart from this, children should be explained that they should not talk to an unknown person through webcam, audio, private message or Online Chat while playing online games because this may increase the risk of violence on the Internet.
Apart from this, parents have also been asked to keep in mind that they should not allow their children to make In-App Purchases and set the payment mode on a mobile phone or smart TV in such a way that without OTP, children cannot buy anything on their own. In-app purchase means that while using the app, paying money to download a particular feature of it which is usually not available for free. While playing online games, in-app purchases are often used to reach the advanced stage of the game.
Apart from this, avoid registering Debit or Credit Card in Gaming Apps because if the App will not have Card Details then children will not be able to make in-app purchases either.
Teachers and parents should explain to the children that they should not download any software or game from an unknown source. Besides, children should be taught that they should not click on any new link, pop-up or images on the Internet because it may contain a virus and also obscene content.
While playing or downloading the game, avoid entering your personal details because criminals can also misuse them.
This advisory also explains what parents and teachers should do. If, while playing the game, it seems that something is going wrong, then stop immediately, and take a screenshot of the game. Parents should tell children that instead of using their real name while playing games, they should use a screen name, which is called an avatar.
Make sure to check the age rating of the online game your child plays. That is, if a game is not right for your child’s age, then you should not let him play that game.
If someone is harassing your child while playing an online game, then tell your child not to react immediately, rather, you report that person to the police.
Sometimes you too should play online games with your child so that you can know how your child behaves while playing the game. Apart from this, teachers and parents should explain to the children that online games are designed in such a way that they spend more and more money so children should avoid spending money on online games.
As a parent, you need to be careful when your child starts hiding his online activities from you. Be careful even if your child suddenly starts spending too much time on the Internet. On asking you, if the child suddenly changes the screen of his digital device, then understand that he is doing something which he should not do.
If your child suddenly becomes irritable after using the internet, it is a sign that something is wrong. Apart from this, if you suddenly see a lot of phone numbers or e-mail addresses on your child’s digital device then you still need to be careful.
Since the lockdown, the number of people playing online games in India has increased rapidly and this includes children as well as elders. The people of India are now spending an average of 218 minutes a day playing online games, earlier it was 151 minutes. In the year 2020, when the lockdown was imposed for the first time then even in its initial few months, more than 700 crores times in India, online games were installed on different digital devices.
But most children are falling prey to this addiction of online games because they do not understand its dangers properly. So if you have children who are fond of playing online games then you should call them to you.
There are currently more than 3 million mobile phone applications on Google Playstore in India. Out of these, 4,44,226 are Online Gaming Apps. And out of these Gaming Apps, 19,632 Apps have been developed in India itself. In the year 2018, the number of users playing online games in India was 26.9 crore. In the year 2020, the number of such users increased to 36.5 crores. And it is estimated that in the year 2022 this number will be 51 crores.
The value of the online gaming industry in India in the year 2019 was Rs 8,300 crore. But it is estimated that by the year 2022, this value will increase to 21 thousand crore rupees.
Like India, China is also a huge market for online gaming. But now the Chinese government has made new rules to protect the children there from addiction, according to which, the online gaming companies of China will have to ensure that children can play online games only for fixed hours on fixed days in a week. Companies that do not do that will face action.
If measures are not taken to protect children from online gaming addiction in India, then in the coming days, similar rules will be needed in India too.