Nowadays PUBG being the largest rage in the country, it has been considered as harmful and negative by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR). In fact just last month the Gujarat government had issued a circular statement asking for the ban on the online multi-player games. Recently, an 18- year old boy in Mumbai, committed suicide because he argued with his parents who refused to buy him a high-end smartphone for playing PUBG Mobile.
As per the DCPCR, the following online games have been marked as harmful, negative and having an adverse impact on the children’s brain:
· PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)
· Grand Theft Auto
· God of War
Clinical psychologist and trauma therapist, Seema Hingorrany has been witnessing a rise of 20-30 per cent with each passing year in gaming addiction. She started seeing cases of PUBG addiction since the past one year, ranging from the age group of five to 40, who constitute around 30 per cent of cases. “Not just children and teens but also adults in their 30s and 40s are hooked to it. This is mostly because everyone has access to this game via mobile phones. Many couples (usually the males), instead of working on their relationship, are further drifting apart due to this addiction.” Recently, she had a case of an 11-year-old who was obsessed with PUBG and swallowed pills in rebellion when parents took away his cell phone. Also, a 32-year-old man who lost his job, battling anxiety and depression is addiction to the game.
The game acts a companion to individuals who face loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, negative feelings, etc, to vent out. This heightens defensiveness, aggression, and other pent-up feelings in individuals don’t find an outlet to channelize their unprocessed emotions. The game is all about dealing with challenges, giving an adrenaline rush keeping people charged up and hence, it becoming increasingly addictive. For a lot of people, this game is an escape mechanism for dealing with stress.
A proper detailed study is required to pinpoint this game’s addictive properties. Dr Anjali Chhabria, psychiatrist and psychotherapist shares her analysis... There are a few things: videogames have always been popular, they isolate the child more. Anything that makes one feel like winner, people like to play that. Some kids are not feeling great in their personal lives, and when they get into a game like that where they feeling like they’re winning, that’s when they will get addicted to it. It’s natural that if you do something well, you’ll want to do it again and again. Also, another reason is the negative publicity its getting. People also get intrigued by its frequent mention and start playing it. PUBG an adventurous game and a lot of people can play it together and it’s easy to get to the top, and that’s what gets people addicted to it, similarly like Counter-Strike.
There needs to be a lot of workshops across schools and colleges to deal with gaming addiction. Parents need to pay special attention to their child’s emotional development, mental health, know if the child has friends and who are they, instead of labelling and criticising them for their shortcomings.
Ensure kids indulge in sports, physical activity be it kick-boxing, swimming, so they can channelize their emotions. Parents and teachers need to check for any underlying issues for gaming addiction, and seek the help of a therapist.