How helpless must parents feel in front of the online gaming craze, if they are breaking iPads out of sheer frustration? British TV presenter Kristie Allsopp has confessed of smashing her kids’ iPads against the table, when they broke the rules on how long they should play violent games.

“There is a game called Fortnite and another PUBG and I decided… we had made all sorts of rules and all sorts of times when we said you can’t play them and all those rules got broken and in the end I said: ‘Right that is it, I have to physically (break them),” she told Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine.

With the rising popularity of games like PUBG, Fortnite and Call Of Duty, among children, parents are clueless as to how long should such gaming sessions should last? And whether or not their kids should be playing violent video games in the first place.

Cluelessness about monitoring online gaming among teen wards 

Okay, so to some people like me, this might sound like an extreme step to take. This is an expensive gadget a luxury to be able to afford one. The iPad in our house is like a coveted trophy which gets handled with care suited only for a newborn or fine china. I just cannot imagine smashing it on a table in a fit of rage. But then, we have all been that close to having that episode of frustrating anger a parent feels with a disobeying ward.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • British TV presenter Kristie Allsopp has confessed of smashing her children’s iPads against the table, when they broke the rules on how long they should play violent games.
  • With the rising popularity of games like PUBG, Fortnite and Call Of Duty parents are clueless as to how long should such gaming sessions last.
  • The symptoms when kids get addicted to online gaming are similar to those in addiction to  alcohol and drugs.
  • Perhaps this is why most parents opt to pull the plug when they see that things are getting out of hands.

Earlier it used to be television which faced the parent’s wrath. I’ve grown up listening to my mom threatening to throw the idiot box out on the street if we didn’t shut it off. Now a parent myself, I too have come very close to burning holes in gadgets with my gaze full of contempt. I managed to restrain myself from damaging it, Allsopp chose the other way. This witch hunt of gadgets in fact points to our frustration as parents. We feel helpless as we are unable to control our wards. And our concerns are valid.

A 2012 report by ABC network suggested that online video games in general are designed to be addictive. In fact, the gaming industry often hires psychologists as consultants to make video games unputdownable.

Now imagine easy access to this vice in your formative years and you know why online gaming is so worrying. Also, it isn’t just about the violent nature of these games. I’ve seen many kids and adults alike obsess over seemingly harmless games like Candy Crush and virtual petting.

Online gaming addiction is similar to addiction to other vices like alcohol and drugs. The road to recovery from gaming addiction is equally difficult. Perhaps this is why most parents opt to pull the plug when they see that things are getting out of hands. But with increasing authority and a sense of independence among teens, it is not easy to keep their hands off their iPads and smartphones.

The question which arises now, is that should parents feel guilty about taking such harsh measures to prevent gaming addictions? When most parents want to be more friends than guardians to their children, such strict measures could lead to fights and flared tempers among kids with raging hormones. But there are times when being friendly or cool with the kids doesn’t solve problems. You have to take a firm stand as a parent because eventually you are not their friends. It is your duty to guide them through teens. If this leads to disharmony and end of friendly terms for some time, so be it. Because once things get out of control, the road to normalcy is very tumultuous.

Pic Credit: TeenLife

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own

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