The cover story on gaming addiction in the September issue of ParentsWorld was spot-on.
I teach in a secondary school in Chennai and almost every week, I need to summon parents because their teenage children are distracted in class or sleepy-eyed and slip-shod with homework. Most of them admit that their children play computer games for long hours. Dual income parents expressed their inability to impose gaming time limits. When I suggest they should deny their children access to Internet wifi connectivity at home, they are reluctant to do so saying it is up to their adolescent children to understand the dangers of gaming.
There is a fundamental flaw in this argument. It is beyond teenagers to understand the adverse impact that excessive gaming can have on their mental and physical well-being. The onus is on parents to stamp out this menace.
Tech addiction not all bad
The cover story ‘Saving children from gaming addiction’ (PW September) was interesting. I believe there’s a conditioning gap somewhere and we may learn from children who were exposed to technology early in life and didn’t end up all bad.
Ankit Fadia, for one, (who studied at Delhi Public School, RK Puram) was gifted a computer at age 10, and became interested in ethical hacking after a year of playing video games when he read a newspaper article on the subject.
He wrote hacking tutorials, started a website hackingtruths.box.sk and turned author at age 14 — the youngest author to be published by Macmillan India — with a book on ethical hacking. There are quite a few others like Ankit that one reads of — Ayan Chawla, the youngest tech company CEO at age 13, the 10-12 years old Kumaran siblings who founded the software firm GoDimensions in Chennai, among others. Their parents perhaps did get something right.
Why do children develop gaming disorders? Is it the age at which they were introduced to gizmos? Is it the type of gizmos and games? Or is it just the home environment that nurtures or destroys young lives?
Maybe we should look for answers.
First aid knowledge imperative
The essay by Dr. Gita Mathai on coping with health emergencies was very useful (PW, September). Many organisations across the country offer first aid and emergency response workshops. I strongly recommend that parents and teachers enroll in these workshops as knowledge of first aid is imperative to respond effectively to child health emergencies.
Citizens, not paramedics, are usually the first to respond during an emergency, so a little knowledge of first aid can go a long way in saving lives. With floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and other dangers causing havoc worldwide, one can never be too prepared.
Stimulate children’s creativity
The Activity zone feature on animation was very interesting (PW September). With animation apps freely available, it can indeed turn into an enjoyable family activity. To wean children off digital gaming addiction, we need to stimulate our children’s minds in multiple ways, and boosting their creativity through animation film-making is an excellent option.
I also enjoy reading the Ask the Doctor and Ask the Counselor sections — they are highly informative and educational.
Create a safer world
Thanks for publishing an excellent parenting magazine. As a parent of two young children I want to raise the issue of dangerous levels of atmospheric pollution which is endangering the lives of all citizens, particularly young children.
Inhaling toxic fumes can cause cardiac disorders and lead to plastic (BPA) contamination of the blood. Our children are constantly at the receiving end of harmful pollutants in the air, chemicals in food, violent media content and more. I shudder to think what the general health of this generation will be 20 years hence.
It is high time the nation’s citizenry takes interest in creating a safer world for the next generation. I appeal to you to create awareness about the environmental dangers that lie before us.