Gaming addiction has been recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an actual disorder. But we are bigger than these games – for they don’t control us, we control them.
At the touch of a button.
Games are more easily accessible than before. Being a parent and having grown up through the 90s, I remember having to purchase a CD-ROM or one of those expensive PlayStation Consoles to play games. And purchasing a game meant having to take a trip downtown or having to wait for a friend to loan it to me. Now, at the swipe of a finger and a press of the button, games can be easily downloaded into our children’s palm-sized devices.
Admittedly, games are a wonderful escape from the stresses of life. On online multi-player games, you can even play with your friends and meet new ones. However, there’s a need to know when to take a break too. As games are designed to motivate players to unlock higher levels or reach new personal high scores, players would spend nights and days trying to proceed in the game.
When Zed first got his hands on a puzzle game in The Never Ending Game, he found himself strongly drawn to it. He couldn’t shake off the urge to continue playing it. Even when his brother, Zee, and Prof Plano asked him to take a break, he snapped at them!
As stated by the WHO, there are 3 signs to identify gaming addiction:
1. When the player is too immersed in the game and makes excuses to continue gaming (e.g. playing truant and staying away from school to play games).
2. The games become the player’s priority and everything else – like spending time with family – becomes secondary.
3. The player still continues playing games in spite of any consequences.
Hitting pause on the games.
All games come with a pause function, so it’s not impossible to take a break from it, even for just a little bit. Remember, we have the power over technology and not the other way round. Technology is here to help and entertain us, but not take over our lives.
As said by the great Prof Plano, “as long as you have self-control when you use your screen, you will always have MyPower!” MyPower is having the willpower to do what is right. It’s also the fourth ingredient in the Clear Vision Recipe and the most important one.
If your little one is constantly spending time playing games on his/her devices, remind them to take their dashes of eye breaks every 30 minutes, and to spend heaps of time outdoors. It’s important for them to create boundaries between themselves and their games to prevent gaming addiction. After all, unlike games, reality doesn’t come with an extra life.
If you would like to purchase The Never Ending Game or any of the other 4 books in The Plano Adventures book series, you may find them in Singapore at Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, and at Popular. Alternatively, buy them online on Amazon or Book Depository.