According to a report in Bloomberg, many parents are putting their children in rehab for Fortnite Addiction. Some children are spending as much as 12 hours a day playing the game, which is affecting their overall well-being. They are unable to sleep, study, play or pay attention, because their life is centred around playing and more importantly winning the game. Also, like many popular multiplayer action games, this one too is a free game, its parent company has inserted opportunities to sell hundreds of dollars of add-ons on credit cards. Which means that for a small fortune player can buy exotic weapons and “skins,” such as Dark Voyager, a black space suit with reflective striping, and so on. But if you consider that the game boasts some 200 million players, the fortune doesn’t seem little.
Fortnite addiction has become so serious that some parents are sending their kids into rehab pic.twitter.com/znyi5Peuqd
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) November 28, 2018
This isn’t the first time online gaming has presented itself as a critical problem to parents and school authorities. In fact, young children, teens and even adults are struggling to log out of gaming apps. World Health Organization classified “gaming disorder” as a mental disorder in June this year. Which in itself speaks about how critical and commonplace gaming addiction has become in recent times.
It is not as easy as snatching the phone away
Lorrine Marer, a British behavioural specialist who works with kids battling game addiction compared Fortnite to heroin. She said to Bloomberg, “Once you are hooked, it’s hard to get unhooked.”
But is it just this particular game parents must worry about? There are a plethora of online games, apart from Fortnite giving parent around the globe sleepless nights. In India alone, one can see numerous teens and adults alike glued to mobile screens, as the parachute off to unknown islands, scavenging for weapons, building armies and protecting castles or even racing around stealing cars. These games are laced with extreme violence and even sexually explicit content.
- Some children are spending as much as 12 hours a day playing Fortnite, which is affecting their overall well-being.
- A behavioural specialist who works with kids battling game addiction compared Fortnite to heroin.
- Here is the thing about addiction, it is not as easy as snatching the phone out of a child’s hand.
- Kids begin showing withdrawal symptoms when denied access to games.
According to Forbes, India’s mobile games market will be worth $1.1 billion by 2020, with the 628 million projected number of players. These numbers indicate that we are only sitting on a ticking time bomb. The more the number of players, the more the number of people susceptible to becoming addicts. Which is why Indian parents need to start paying attention to the menace of gaming addiction. However, despite knowing how such games instill sexist notions, objectify women and expose children to violence, and eventually push them in the rabbit hole of compulsive gaming, not many parents can do much about it.
Here is the thing about addiction, it is not as easy as snatching the phone out of a child’s hand. Kids begin showing withdrawal symptoms when denied access to games. If not handled properly the sudden withdrawal can only make a child’s condition worse, which is why rehabilitation seems like a great idea.
It is always a great idea to manage the situation before it gets out of the hand. Perhaps parents can attempt to closely monitor usage of mobile phone and online gaming in their peers. However, if they fail to control it, they also need to acknowledge when it is time to get external and professional help.
Instead of feeling defeated, angry, ashamed and eventually denying the possibility that one’s child could have a gaming addiction, parents need to accept the situation. That is the first step. Second, is sitting down with your child, explaining them the situation and why it worries you. The third is not showing inhibitions in getting professional help. However, in a country where mental health and addiction are still taboo, how many parents would dare to send their kids to a rehab? What we need to do is to start talking among ourselves. Accept the existence of gaming addiction in our society as a threat and vow to do to all possible lengths to curb it, for the sake of our children.
Also Read : Our Inability To Control Kids’ Screen Time Might Cause Anxiety In Them
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own