The most recent Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games are becoming increasingly popular, enhancing the negative aspects of online gaming. However, this has created hazards for children who may face online abuse or harassment from other gamers, especially when they are heavily immersed in playing online games.
Following COVID, the world’s population has moved from the physical to the digital sphere, where people now choose online shopping, e-learning, and online gaming over outdoor activities. Due to the extensive social connection via video, speech, text, etc.
How negative aspects of online gaming affect the children
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Online gaming is becoming more popular among children; thus, parents must be aware of the risks in order to properly manage the situation. Numerous incidences of adolescent suicides and violent killings by internet gamers have been reported in Pakistan’s media.
As determined by many researchers, excessive online game playing is a contributing factor to the problem of violence and antisocial behavior. According to Mr. Arthur Cassidy, an associate member of the British Psychological Society, youngsters who get more attached to gaming devices are more likely to commit suicide or damage themselves.
Numerous additional studies have shown that youngsters who play online games excessively miss out on physical activity and as a result have issues like loneliness, introversion, misbehavior around family members, sleeping difficulties, anxiety, sadness, etc.
Parental neglect is a major cause of addiction to online gaming. Playing internet games provides rapid solace for lonely children. It transports people from reality to fantastical and fictitious realms where everything seems to be controlled by their imagination and ideas.
They get irritated, which triggers aggression, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Additionally, when playing online games with online predators, the likelihood of being blackmailed, harassed by others (both offline and online), and having personal information stolen rises.
Measures To Be Taken:
Certainly! Here are some measures to be taken when addressing the dark side of online gaming and empowering parents:
- Educate Yourself: Take the time to understand the various risks associated with online gaming, such as cyberbullying, grooming, addiction, and exposure to inappropriate content. Stay informed about the latest trends, games, and platforms your child is using.
- Open Communication: Foster an open and non-judgmental line of communication with your child. Encourage them to share their online gaming experiences, concerns, and any issues they encounter. Listen actively, validate their feelings, and provide guidance and support.
- Set Clear Rules and Boundaries: Establish clear rules and boundaries regarding gaming time, appropriate content, and online interactions. Discuss these rules with your child and ensure they understand the consequences of violating them. Consistently enforce the laws to promote responsible gaming habits.
- Utilize Parental Controls: Take advantage of the parental control features available on gaming platforms, consoles, and devices. These controls can help limit access to inappropriate content, set time limits, and manage online interactions. Familiarize yourself with these features and use them effectively.
- Monitor Online Activity: Regularly monitor your child’s online gaming activities. Be aware of the games they play, the people they interact with, and the content they are exposed to. Consider using monitoring tools or software applications to track their online interactions and identify any potential risks.
- Teach Online Safety: Educate your child about online safety practices. Teach them to safeguard their personal information, use strong and unique passwords, and be cautious about sharing personal details with strangers. Emphasize the importance of privacy and explain the potential consequences of sharing sensitive information online.
- Encourage Positive Gaming Communities: Guide your child towards positive and safe gaming communities. Help them find like-minded players and communities that promote healthy gaming behaviors, sportsmanship, and cooperation. Engaging with positive communities can mitigate the negative aspects of online gaming.
- Teach Responsible Gaming Habits: Educate your child about responsible gaming habits, such as taking breaks, maintaining a healthy balance between gaming and other activities, and setting priorities. Encourage them to engage in physical activities, socialize offline, and pursue other hobbies and interests.
- Stay Involved: Take an active interest in your child’s gaming experiences. Play games with them, ask questions about their gameplay, and show genuine curiosity. By staying involved, you can better understand their gaming habits and address any potential issues that may arise.
- Seek Support: If you notice concerning behaviors or signs of addiction, seek professional help. Consult with a counselor, therapist, or addiction specialist who can provide guidance and support for your child and family.
Remember, it’s important to tailor these measures to your family’s specific needs and circumstances. Every child is different, so adapt these strategies to ensure they are effective in promoting a safe and positive gaming environment through which negative aspects of online gaming can be rectified.