Video Games came into existence since 1970s. Since then the craze of the video games started. Video game started from gaming console and it slowly advanced as internet game on smart phones, laptop, etc. This has somewhat resulted in addiction of internet games and are popular among adolescents.
In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified gaming disorder as a mental health illness and listed it in International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The ICD-11 is a list of diseases and medical conditions used worldwide. WHO defined Gaming disorder as “a pattern of gaming behavior (digital-gaming or video-gaming) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
Internet game designers have developed the game just challenging enough to keep the game interested, but not so challenging that the gamer become aggravated and give up. Also, they create a controlled environment for gamers by measuring game progress, which enforces the gamers to spend hours and hours playing games. Due to the high amount of precious time they spend on playing, they could allow less effort in academic, employment or social functioning. They suffer from a severe symptom of withdrawal, if controlled from gaming, and relapse is a common phenomenon.
Studies have shown that more than one third of populations of world are engaged in gaming and prevalence of Internet gaming disorder ranged from 0.7% to 27.5% in 2017. The studies conducted in Nepal, were concentrated on internet addiction, social media (e.g. face book) addiction and screen media use. There is little known about internet gaming behavior in Nepal. Few evidences on internet addiction showed some severe internet addiction and about one third of the internet addicts uses internet for playing online games.
IMPACTS OF GAMING ADDICTION
We all know addiction or continuous playing of games is very harmful for us. Some of its impacts which we suffer are as follows:
- Health Impacts
First of all, as we know, it leads to vision problems. The continuous exposure of our eyes to our devices like laptop, computer, etc is harmful. Then one can suffer from musculoskeletal problems. The person who is addicted in internet game they are mostly fat or overweight. As the addicted person rarely go to play outdoor game or do not want to go outside to play or exercise. This results in lack of exercise in their body causing obesity and overweight. Due to this in future they may suffer from diabetes, heart problem, etc. It mostly affects the mental health of a person. The addicted gamers have been found with the symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, sleeping problems, loss of appetite, behavioral problem and other psycho-social problems. Gaming addiction not only causes above mentioned problems but also affects our brain by killing our brain cells. It also causes numbness in hand and blood clot.
- Financial Impact
The addicted person purchase various latest and updated gadgets which are very expensive and cannot be easily purchased by middle or lower class families. This may cause financial crisis for those families. To play online games internet is also required which may also be costly in context of Nepal. Also devices like computer, laptop, mobile phone/ smart phone etc. are required which are very expensive.
- Academic Impact
Internet game addicts continuously spend their time on internet game spending their valuable time in game. They spend most of their time in gaming afterwards they may have slight headache and may have difficulty to see or they may not want to study. They want to spend more and more time on gaming. In free time too they may only think of their game and also while studying they may start to think about their game only. This affects their study and it may result in decreasing grade of that person. They may lose their interest in studying. They will not give their time for study and will prefer gaming rather than studying.
- Social and behavioral problems
Studies found that Internet addiction, smart phone addiction, and online game addiction were all associated with an individual's social anxiety. Individuals with a serious tendency for online gaming addiction have significantly higher social anxiety levels than those who use online games normally. Social anxiety, which is the most common anxiety disorder in adolescence, is the state of tension or discomfort experienced by individuals in social situations. Those who are addicted in internet gaming they prefer to stay alone and do not want to visit crowded places. They do not talk to their parents or other relatives much and only focus on gaming, staying inside their home. They also do not go to play and they lack skills to make friends except for making friends in their game. Compared to others, gaming addicts have significant social and behavioral issues. It also affects the imaginative and social behavior of children.
Adheesh Bista is the recent SEE graduate from Siddhartha Vanasthali Institute.
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