Dr. Vasileios Stavropoulos, a senior lecturer in clinical psychology and coordinator of the Gaming Research Group at Federation University, Australia, says six criteria must be met in order to classify excessive internet gaming as an addiction. That criteria includes a frequent preoccupation or obsession with internet gaming, progressively higher doses of gaming to achieve the same outcome, using gaming to modify mood or feelings, conflict with others due to dysfunction in the gamer’s other roles, failing in attempts to curb or stop gaming, and withdrawal symptoms when not gaming online.
India has also seen a surge in online addiction. Shatarupa Dey interacted with psychiatrist Dr. Arpita Banerjee to know more about online addiction.
Q. What impact does online and gaming addiction have on the youth of this country?
A. As far as online addiction is concerned, it is not just the youth but every person ranging between the age group of
2 and 80 who can be potentially categorised as an addict. In today’s fast paced and technologically advanced world, the virtual world serves as a means to deliver pseudo happiness to one and all. Parents do not have time for the children and in fact parents’ constant nagging and non-appreciation draws children towards news games where their wins and triumphs help them to build their own self-esteem.
Q. Do you think the absence of proper parenting is the major reason, which is aggravating online addiction?
A. Parenting is one of the reasons. In fact, parents prevent their children from going out in the evenings to play and stop them from playing with kids belonging to different classes. Therefore, children find online gaming attractive. Sometimes peer pressure could be another reason which could draw them towards online gaming.
Q. How can one deal with the problem of online addiction and gaming?
A. Parents should try to keep their children engaged in certain activities like painting, indoor games, etc. where parents should try and participate along with the children, and should start a rewards system. For adolescents, parents should treat them as adults and not as kids, and give them a role in decision making processes of the family. This will impact the overall development of the child. Finally, parents should get rid of their own online addiction. They should practise it first and only then will it have a positive impact on the children.
Q. What do you think about this problem?
A. Online addiction coupled with gaming addiction is a monster which can hinder the overall development of a child. Online addiction can result in serious nervous disorders. Parents and teachers have a huge role to play in this regard. If not treated with care, this can bear results similar to any other kind of addiction, like that of drugs