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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Is online gaming all that bad?

While online gaming comes under a lot of scrutiny, a number of people believe that the gaming culture provides a get away for people who want to get out of their mundane lifestyle.

Is a blanket ban on online gaming bad? The recent ban on the highly popular and addictive game PUB-G by PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) was welcomed gladly by parents across the country, as the lockdown due to Coronavirus not only forced educational institutions to go virtual but it also transformed the play field for most children and young adults. Living rooms/bedrooms became playgrounds and the electronic gadgets turned into gaming kits.

Addictive video-gaming culture

It would be fitting to say that with the rise of smart phones and social media platforms, this
online gaming culture has always been there but the lockdown has given it a further hike. The gaming culture is a new media subculture formed by video games. This addictive culture has recently raised eyebrows around the globe due to the prevalent problematic online gaming. Numerous researches have been conducted on the impact of online gaming.
Much of the research depicts negative connotations attached with the gaming culture.

Violence associated with online gaming

Over the years the most popular video games in the market have been those associated with violence. A virtual reality is created which allows users to violently kill their opponents or often show aggressive traits. Since children are deemed to be the most impressionable members of society, it is believed that many users display the same kind of behavior in society creating chaos and anarchy.

The Christchurch mosque attack in New Zealand on March 15th 2019 which shook the world was live-streamed by the shooter and was shown shooting in the same way as it is done in these widespread online games.

What professionals have to say

Psychologists say that gamers believe that it is acceptable to conduct their behavior in reality as it is in their games, creating grave psychological and often physical difficulties in society. Moreover, research depicts that excessive viewing of such content has a severe impact on ones mental well-being. The most recent case of this negative impact  was reflected when a 16 year old boy in Pakistan took his  life because of losing in PUB-G. Complaints against this game stated that it was addictive, a waste of time and had serious implication on ones psychological and physical well being.

Read More: What to Look for in a Good Smartphone Gaming Application

This violent gaming culture has resulted in many children to dismiss the idea of physical growth by going outside and playing. Instead children become reliant on virtual games forgoing physical activity. Moreover, many children have been victims of continuous bullying through this virtual setup. There are only few repercussions for those who indulge in this toxic trait, therefore cyber bullying through video games has increased manifold.

Gaming is also considered to be addictive. Often children completely get lost in the world that is being offered by these video games forgetting or neglecting ground realities. Children especially get so hooked to their video games that they create a sense of dependence on them taking away their valuable time for educational activities. Parents are often found bargaining with their children about their screen time and when parents try to take away video games from their children, they often face  backlash in the form of tantrums, creating enormous pressure on them to comply. This event has resulted in countless unpleasant situations within the home.

Read More: The Biggest iGaming Jackpots

Advantages of online gaming

While online gaming comes under a lot of scrutiny, a number of people believe that the gaming culture provides a get away for people who want to get out of their mundane lifestyle.

Moreover, it provides a platform for its users to interact and communicate with people all around the globe that they would not otherwise. The gaming culture has promoted a virtual
community that has assisted and allowed many people to feel safe. The researches done at New York university’s (NYU) department called CREATE, dedicated for the purpose of evaluating digital games for learning, suggest that the evolution of gaming culture has resulted in strategic games to gain popularity which is positively correlated to one’s executive functioning.

Since children from a very young age start playing video games, they understand differences and strategic techniques they otherwise would not be able too. The problem arises when the balance between the virtual world and the real world is mislaid. If parents monitor their children’s online activity and set a screen time, along with recreation, online games could be used for educational purpose as well. As the famous businessman Herb Kohl said, “We cannot and will not ban the creation of violent video games. But we can prevent the distribution of these disturbing games to children, where their effects can be negative.”

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.