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Gamedemic: Online Gaming registers massive spurt under lockdown, Psychologists warn addiction and behavioural disorders

Gamedemic: Online Gaming registers massive spurt under lockdown, Psychologists warn addiction and behavioural disorders

By Pallab Bhattacharya
New Delhi, Apr 23(UNI) The Online gaming industry in India is witness to an unprecedented rise in
traffic in the past one month crossing reportedly 300 million mark even as the country grapples with the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has impelled majority of its population to mandatory ‘homestay’.
Although the traffic from Tier-I cities is contributing largely to this exponential surge, which is as high as 50 per cent in some cases, the smaller towns, semi-urban and rural areas are also not much behind. With strong penetration of smart phones, the gaming platforms have swayed through the entire country enticing people of all ages and socio-economic background.
The trend has already snowballed into such an alarming proportion that the Psychologists are raising deep concerns about massive psychological and cognitive disorders, particularly among the children and youth.
'This increasing trend (of gaming) is certainly going to change the habit patterns of the people and inflict ‘obsessive compulsory feature’ among many of the users,' says Dr (Prof) R K Suri, Former Founding Director and Vice-Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology (RGIPT) and Chief Mentor at talktoangel.com-a psychology counselling initiative.
Dr Suri feels that the whole process of clinging to the online gaming will eventually lead to 'incoherent and incongruence' habits among many of the users. 'At least 15-20 per cent of the users may end up in severe addiction leading to a major social crisis,' he opines.
Forty-day period, he said, is good enough time to form new habits if something is repeated over and over. There has been many scientific studies also, that corroborate the same.
People suffering from diseases like anxiety and hypertension are more prone to get addicted because of the inherent nature of gaming which thrives by instant ‘gratification and satisfaction’.
Echoing him, Dr Deepali Batra, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, said the impact in the mental health will be very grave because people, particularly children and youth, will tend to become more aggressive, violent and easy prey to severe mood fluctuations.
Dr Batra, who is also the Director of Psychological Academic Learning Services (PALS) for children and adult, noted that the ‘Cognitive Disorders’ like memory power, concentration, ability to process etc. are also likely to impact the people’s behaviour quite badly.
'The children and youngsters are spending 14 -15 hours in these platforms compromising the studies, works and most importantly sleep. If the brain is so overloaded with data, it will not be able to process,' says Dr Batra.
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