Word on the street: Gaming addiction

Public opinion on the streets of Muscat

With WHO’s recent announcement classifying gaming disorder as a mental health condition, do you think it is a wake-up call for many in Oman?

Arif al Balushi, Manager

A lot of people, especially teens, in Oman are excessively into gaming which is not a good thing. Too much of gaming has been considered to cause a lot of anxiety problems and leads to other ailments as well. More awareness needs to be created on WHO’s announcement about gaming causing mental health conditions. 

Tariq Imam, Marketing manager

With the ubiquitous use of mobile phones, it is easy for children to get addicted to gaming. It starts with exploring fun games on smartphones and gradually as it becomes an addiction they turn to violent games. We should restrict children’s use of smartphones to start with and be more vigilant about their online activities.

Nabeel Yousef Saleh, Doctor

It is a serious issue with more and more people especially children getting addicted to gaming. One often sees that children addicted to video games are obese. They also suffer from sleep disorders and anxiety issues. After playing games that are violent, children often behave the same way. They also sometimes resent when prevented from playing.

Yousef al Balushi, Computer programmer

I am not a lot into gaming, but when I play occasionally on my smartphone, I feel a sense of anger and frustration building up within. I feel parents should be a lot more careful if their children are into gaming excessively.

Safa Eysa, Doctor

I think it is a cause of concern as children who indulge in video games tend to get obese, depressed and are more prone to sleep and emotional disorders. Also, it increases violent behaviour in them which comes to the fore when they interact or play with their friends. It also makes them asocial.

Mohamed Abdelwajid, Doctor

Video game addiction is a serious disorder characterised by excessive playing and it often disturbs the daily routine of people. A person who is addicted to video games may have difficulty thinking or engaging in activities other than gaming. This may lead to significant weight gain or loss. Mental health professionals can employ proven methods to treat conditions associated with video game addiction and so help should be sought at the earliest.

How do you think children can be motivated to engage more in physical games rather than video games and online activities?

Rudra Narayan Biswal, Administrator

They are many ways to wean off children from online games. We should find out first why a child is spending more time playing online games. The root cause is mostly the elders in the family. Children need a lot of attention and when they see all the adults in the family spending more on mobile phones they tend to do the same. So, if you really want to wean off your child from mobile phones or tabs, spend more time with them.

Somalina Sahoo, Homemaker

Technology has made our children addicted to the virtual world. Technological advancements should be used to our advantage. Children can be given access to modern gadgets but access should be restricted. They should be encouraged to go out and play more and engage in physical activities. To start, we as parents must join them in their games.

Uthuppu Thomas, Accountant

It is better not to forcefully restrict children from doing something as they may indulge in the same activity elsewhere. It is best to make a child understand the consequences of a habit that you do not approve of. Spend more time with children and be their friend. Take them to the park or the beach and indulge in some sports activity every week. Make it a fun-filled activity so that they gradually lose interest in online games.

Badri Narayanan Rishi Kesan, Supervisor

Parents, schools and society in general should organise more sports competitions for children in order to get them away from video games. All experts agree exercise is massively important, so why not teach them to be active at a young age.

Muhanad Khalfan Issa al Tubi, Executive

Oman is fast becoming an adventure sports destination. We have dramatic mountains, world’s biggest deserts and wadis. Blaming the heat for lack of activity is a cop-out. Parents should find inventive ways to keep their children physically fit.

Faisal Hamed al Rashdi, Senior executive

What is interesting is there are many activity options today than when I was growing up. Unfortunately, media and gaming options are also on the increase and are vying for children’s time and attention. Good parenting is needed in order to tackle this problem. It’s a good thing that local media is spreading awareness about this issue.

Do you think there is a need for regulating the ever-growing number of gaming centres in Oman?

Lubna al Sukri, Cashier

Yes, it is cause of concern. If we love our society then we should protect it from all hazards. Our children are so addicted to these activities that it affects their physical and mental condition and hence the need to impose regulations.

Hussain al Naamani, Student

There is no need to regulate as everyone at one point or the other wishes to try their hand at whatever comes into vogue. After all, gaming centres are just a source of income for many people and it would be unfair on them to shut their business.

Msellem Salum, Private sector employee

Parents must be craving for some sort of clampdown. We try our best to control our children but unfortunately the control ends as soon as they step out of the house. Today, children have access to technology everywhere and they get addicted very fast. But it is not only a wastage of time and money and can hamper focus and concentration among children.

Jamal Chowdhury, Businessman

I don’t think that there is any need to regulate such gaming centres in Oman. They are harmless places. Let us not intrude into such spaces where people relax and bond with each other.

Mohammed Pabel, Private sector employee

It is the need of the hour as there are many places that have mushroomed over the years. They affect young people adversely and cause a lot of mental problems. These centres have been opened only with the aim to make a quick buck. 

Abhirup Roy, Private sector employee

Most people play games at home too, and so it is useless to monitor such centres to prevent people from getting addicted to video games. Gaming centres boost and initiate friendliness and brotherhood among people. It is also a space for people to relax and unwind.

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