Bengaluru: While some children are sitting with their parents at Bengaluru’s SHUT clinic, Vishal is in the doctor’s chamber. When the doctor asks him how many friends he has, Vishal asks, “Online or offline?” Vishal has 2-3 offline and over 500 online friends!
68% children play games
Vishal tells that he plays PUBG for 8-9 hours daily. He mostly plays at night because his foreign ‘friends’ also play at that time. According to a survey conducted by Dainik Bhaskar, about 68% school children play one or the other mobile game. Bhaskar had conducted survey of 991 children of Class-8. There are over 22 crore mobile gamers in the country.
4-14 hours spent daily in mobile games
Children are spending anything between 4-14 hours in playing mobile and computer games. Professor Dr Manoj Kumar Sharma of SHUT (Services for Healthy Use of Technology) clinic says the biggest challenge is that most of the children do not accept that they are suffering from any disease. There was 3-fold increase in the number of gaming patients in 2016 when the internet became cheap. Dr. Sharma said the clinic is receiving patients between 12-23 years.
Expelled from school
Hyderabad’s Tejas studies in Class-12. He became a game addict and started playing PUBG and Fortnite for up to 8-10 hours daily when he was in Class-11. As his academic performance deteriorated, he was expelled from the school. He is now almost normal after 25 sessions of counselling.
Parents spend most of their time on internet
Ravi’s parents are IT professionals who had given him a mobile to their four years back when he was in Class-5. Ravi, now 15, has been playing PUBG for 8-9 hours daily. He told the doctor that his parents were more in need of treatment as they spend most of their time on internet even after returning from work. Now Ravi is normal and plays basketball.
Similarly Saurabh, son of a businessman in Lucknow, failed in Class-10 as he could not focus on studies due to games. His parents took him to a rehab centre. Now Saurabh is fine and plays chess and badminton with his parents.
(Story by Dharmendra Singh Bhadoria)