The DCPCR also listed the games that are considered “violent”. “Some violent games which are available on IOS, Android platforms and console platform are PUBG, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto series, God of War, Hitman series, Plague Inc and Pokemon.
Flagging several video and online games as ‘harmful and negative’, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has written to the Directorate of Education (DoE) to issue necessary directions to heads of all schools, to check “addiction” of online gaming among children.
The DCPCR also listed the games that are considered “violent”. “Some violent games which are available on IOS, Android platforms and console platform are PUBG, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto series, God of War, Hitman series, Plague Inc and Pokemon. These games are causing a harmful, negative and adverse impact on children’s brains,” the commission said in the letter.
The online game addiction also figured in the Prime Minister’s pre-board exam interaction, Pariksha Pe Charcha, with students recently.
When a mother told PM Modi that her son is hooked to online games, the PM asked, “Ye PUBG wala hai kya?” PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is an online multiplayer battle royale game which is very popular among the youth. Modi said technology is a boon and a curse as well and everything depends on how the child is using it.
In a letter, sent on Monday, addressed to the director Directorate of Education, DCPCR member Ranjana Prasad said, “There are different sorts of computer games accessible in the present business. Video games are proposed to target diverse parts of a child’s life. These games are full of misogyny, hate, deceit and vengeance. And, at an age when the child learns from that he/she sees, it may negatively impact their brain for their life.”
The commission asked the DoE to issue “necessary directions” to the heads of all schools, on the issue. “Necessary directions on the subject be given to heads of all schools (public and private) under your control to discuss the issue with the students in the morning assembly as well us meetings of PTMs/PTAs (Parent Teaching Meeting/Parent Teaching Association) and action taken be should be shared with the commission in 20 days time,” the letter stated.
Prasad said that the commission took cognizance of an advisory issued by the Gujarat state primary education department last month. “We had come to know that the Gujarat state primary education department had banned the game, PUBG last month after a recommendation by the State’s Commission for Protection of Child Rights. We, then, explored other games causing similar harm to our kids and wrote to the DoE to take necessary measures to check the menace,” she said.
Sanjay Goel, director, Department of Education, said that he was yet to receive the letter. “We have not received it yet but we welcome this initiative. We will surely circulate it further to all the heads of schools (HoS’),” he said.
In its letter, the DCPCR also directed the schools to check for symptoms of “addiction” in children, such as “becoming withdrawn from family and friends, persistent low mood and unhappiness, sudden outburst of anger and loss of interest in activities that he/she used to enjoy”.
It further asked the schools to ask parents to keep their eyes open for “unusually secretive behaviour, a sudden increase in they spend on devices, attempt to change screens on their device when approached and the change in behaviour after using the console or mobile phones”.
Experts say that the major reasons behind the online gaming addiction these days are “heavy academic preoccupation” leading to “very indoor” lifestyles. “In such circumstances, the children always get attracted to activities which are very engaging like these online games. The easy and unfiltered access to internet and devices makes them even more vulnerable to become addicted to these things,” said Dr Samir Parikh, director, Mental Health And Behavioral Sciences department, Fortis Hospital.
Many parents also agreed that gaming addiction was a big concern for them. “My 12-year-old leaves his i-pad only when he is in school or tennis classes. He is addicted to these games. I have requested his class teacher to speak to him regarding this,” said Nimrita Singh, resident of east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar.