How the return of banned games affect Indian youth

Several Chinese mobile games have made a comeback in India, raising concerns about their impact on the well-being of children and young adults.

These games came back despite being previously banned by the Indian government over national security concerns in 2020. Notable titles such as Krafton’s Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) and Free Fire were relaunched in 2023. 

Dr. Sameer Malhotra, the head of the Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Max Super Speciality Hospital, highlighted issues like disturbed sleep patterns, irritability, academic decline and neglect of real-life priorities associated with these games. 

“Strategic violent virtual games are known to cause a host of problems in young impressionable minds,” said the health expert. 

He added that engaging in these games may lead to neglect of self-care, a loss of meaningful purpose in life, distress, compulsive behaviours, impulse dyscontrol, anger issues, self-harming tendencies and physical discomforts such as body aches and headaches.

Suggestions to avoid gaming harm

Dr. Maholtra suggested that parents and educators initiate conversations with children about the potential risks associated with these games to avoid lasting negative effects.

“Parents can use parental control apps and monitoring tools to keep a close eye on their children’s online activity, and teachers can keep an eye on students’ digital behaviour in the classroom,” he said.

He also urged promoting outside activities for children to help them balance their time playing games. 

On the other hand, educationist Meeta Sengupta emphasized the importance of building strong communication and trust with children while assisting them in developing self-control. Sengupta suggested incorporating “psychological nudges” into everyday practices by expressing approval of various actions rather than consistently disapproving.

Sengupta recommended praising children when they step away from the game, acknowledging their favourable decision to engage in other activities that bring them joy.

Nikita Tomar Mann, principal at Indraprastha Global School, highlights the new challenge posed to parents of growing children with the influx of mobile video games like PUBG, a battle royale game. PUBG was one of the banned games in 2020 but relaunched in 2023. 

Mann underscored the importance of regularly educating parents and students about the addictive nature of these games through digital literacy sessions. She also warned that imposing restrictions may increase children’s curiosity and potentially lead to more detrimental outcomes.

The Indian online casino market is projected to reach a revenue of INR 0.93 billion in 2024 and anticipates an annual growth rate of 5.45%. Anticipated to reach INR 1.15 billion by 2028, this expansion is driven by the surge in internet usage and a growing interest in online gaming. 

Online casinos in India present an extensive selection of games, from classics like poker and blackjack to contemporary and interactive offerings named live dealer games such as Lighting Dice that involves. 

Many online casino games also offer tips to win such as lighting dice hack. Consequently, the younger players may be more intrigued to explore these games, making them more prone to the negative risks of online gambling.

Furthermore, even though there are free online casino games, a study revealed adolescents who participate in these games were significantly more likely to do monetary gambling. The study was done by examining 10,035 students aged 13-19. 

“Adolescents’ participation in seemingly risk-free social casino games is a concern because we know that early exposure to gambling activities is a risk factor for developing gambling problems in the future,” said Tara Elton-Marshall, lead researcher at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. 

Therefore, thorough supervision from adults is necessary to avoid the risks of the youth being entangled in gambling addiction, which causes monetary loss in the future.

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