Detrimental impact of excessive online gaming
The government may regulate online gaming hours for children. For example, until recently, China limited gamers under 18 to only three hours of online games per week.
By: Satyavan Saurabh
Recently the government has announced the formation of a committee to identify a ministry to regulate and oversee online gaming. In the changing technological era, today more and more states are bringing in-laws to bring some order to the online gaming sector. Recently, the Rajasthan government brought in a draft bill to regulate online games, especially fantasy sports. Earlier, states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka had also passed laws banning online games. However, they were overruled by the state high courts because the outright ban on the game of skill was unreasonable.
Fantasy sports are completely different from all forms of online games which are like e-sports, casual gaming, etc. which do not require a real-life player to play the actual sports match to decide the outcome for the participant. Unlike other online gaming, fantasy sports are based on realities, the availability of seasonal and real-time sports matches making it a non-addictive form of play that sets it apart from other forms of online gaming.
The consequences of excessive gaming can have a detrimental effect on children’s education and well-being. One of the symptoms of its addiction is the effects on other areas of life. If schoolwork is suffering – including boredom in lessons, difficulty concentrating or low motivation to complete homework – then the gaming habits should be assessed. Exposure to violent, graphic, or sexual material is extremely dangerous for children; An increasing number of parents are concerned about the content of the games they play.
For example, Fortnite is rated 12+—yet many elementary school-age kids play. Games with violent, erotic, or overly realistic content can also have an emotional impact on children, especially young children. This is a controversial area with conflicting research, but a study by Science Daily has linked violent video games to aggression in young people. If gaming is at the expense of bonding with friends in real life, this withdrawal may affect bonding skills in everyday situations.
Children and youth who play sports for a long time can be affected by RSI. Stiffness, aches, pains, and numbness are signs that should be looked out for. For example, ‘lower tendinitis’ refers to thumb, wrist, and hand problems associated with playing on gaming consoles. Eye strain is also common if you stare at the screen for a long time without taking a break. Screen glare can also affect vision. Poor nutrition or self-care problems are also knocked homes with online games; When gaming addiction takes hold, children and young people may skip meals, become dependent on junk food, resist taking toilet breaks, or have poor hygiene. Playing stimulating games for several hours at a time, especially late at night, will make it harder to fall asleep.
Many people are developing an addiction to online gaming. It is destroying lives and destroying families. Compulsive gaming by children is affecting their performance in school and affecting their social lives and relationships with family members. Gaming addictions cause physical, social, and emotional damage to health, poor sleep, appetite, career, and social life. Addiction can also cause insomnia, cause nearsightedness, withdrawal from social interactions, academic failure, and cause extreme anger and irritability.
First, the Center may take steps to block sites under Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act to regulate online gaming. There is also a need for stringent measures to prevent illegal services from being advertised or broadcast online through direct or surrogate means. Second, a gaming authority should be created at the central level. It can be made responsible for the online gaming industry, overseeing its operations, preventing social issues, suitably classifying games of skill or chance, overseeing consumer protection, and combating legality and crime. Third, since blocking illegal websites is under the Centre’s jurisdiction, states can follow the Maharashtra Police’s model to tackle digital piracy.
Fourth, consumer interest groups should be involved in anti-gambling efforts, to spread awareness and provide a platform to report illegal platforms. Fifth, the Center should put in place a comprehensive regulatory framework for online play of skills. To keep up with the global gaming industry, India must move beyond the skill-versus-chance debate. Sixth, India can take a pragmatic approach like advanced jurisdictions. The UK exempts skill sports from the licensing requirements that apply to games of chance.
Finally, the government may regulate online gaming hours for children. For example, until recently, China limited gamers under 18 to only three hours of online games per week. Online gaming platforms may strengthen KYC norms, and implement an age-rating mechanism allowing minors to proceed only with the consent of their parents, based on OTP verification can solve, in-Game purchases should not be permitted without adult consent and the in-game chat option should be disabled wherever possible. Gaming companies should actively educate users about the potential risks and how to identify potential situations of fraud and abuse. The anonymity of participants should be removed and a robust grievance redressal mechanism should be created, various forms of self-regulation should also be encouraged for the industry.
More and more youth are joining online games. In light of this, there is a need to regulate the online gaming industry in India. Moreover, the rules of online gaming will not only open up economic opportunities but also reduce its social cost.
The writer is Research Scholar, Poet, Independent Journalist, and Columnist, All India Radio and TV Panelist.