More Than Just a Game: The Spread of Gaming Addiction Among Teens
According to a report by KPMG, 60% of urban mobile gamers are below the age of 24 years.
According to a report by KPMG, 60% of urban mobile gamers are below the age of 24 years. (Photo: iStockphoto)

More Than Just a Game: The Spread of Gaming Addiction Among Teens

Video games are a trendsetter these days; you would hardly find a household which has a teenager and not a video game console. If not, online gaming is quite common these days. For some youth, owning an Xbox or a PlayStation has become a necessity and a parameter of how upgraded you are. But these revolutionary gaming technologies and online gaming are more than just a game today.

As per a recent report in the English daily Hindustan Times, a teenager from Delhi stabbed his parents and younger sister to death as they reportedly used to nag him over his obsession with a certain violent game.

Shocking, right?

The problem is so severe that the World Health Organisation (WHO), in its 11th revision of International Classification of Diseases, has defined severe levels of gaming addiction as ‘Gaming Disorder’.

According to a report by KPMG, 60% of urban mobile gamers are below the age of 24 years. It also suggests that 47% of the online users initiate online gaming due to peer influence and 47% of them do it for recreation or time utilisation.

Regarding the growth of online gaming in India, it stood at USD 290 million in 2017 and is expected to grow to USD one billion by 2021.

The gaming industry is expected to grow to USD one billion by 2021 in India.
The gaming industry is expected to grow to USD one billion by 2021 in India.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Dr Ankit Gupta, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi, said, “The problem has become more prominent nowadays due to a technological boom, especially in this case which we got from China and Korea.”

Addiction to video games may be linked to other mental health conditions, such as depression and low self-esteem, when a person tends to find support through the relationships of the virtual world. 
Dr Ankit Gupta

Gupta, who was in the UK for a few years, says that he has observed that gaming addiction exists in adults as well. Elaborating on how adults are even suffering from this problem, he said, “In India too, I have observed many of my colleagues playing games on their mobiles, though this addiction phenomenon has affected adults more in foreign countries”.

Dealing with the kin of the patients is an important factor here. Those who are illiterate and from backward socio-economic conditions often beat their children, in comparison to their educated counterparts who often understand the situation.
Dr Ankit Gupta

Also Read : 15-Year-Old Boy Addicted to PUBG: What Is Gaming Addiction Like?

Mohit Khurana, the owner of ProGame Cafe in Sector 31, Gurugram says, “Individuals between the ages of 13-25 form a major chunk of our customers. Seventy percent of them are those who do not have gaming consoles at home and 30% are those who come here for their passion of gaming to play on bigger screens and with other players”.

Talking about why this happens in the first place, Dr. Rachna Bhargava, Associate Professor, Clinical Psycholology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, says,

Social anxiety, feeling inadequate, lonely environment at home and a number of biological factors are at play which leads to such kind of addiction.

“AIIMS has also started a Behavioral Addictions Clinic to deal with such non-substance abuse problems and making the people of aware of their existence. It will help them to detox. It plays a major role to psycho educate the kin of such patients”, she added.

(Tavanpal Singh is an M.A. Convergent Journalism graduate from A.J. Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi who cannot take things at their face value and tends to question the current scenario.)

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