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April 16, 2019 | Muzzafar Ahmad

Psychological effects of mobile gaming on children and adolescents

Mobiles are one of the fastest developing technological gadgets nowadays in our society. In every-day life they change in astonishing ways .There are always new versions of mobile phones in stores and people want to buy the newest types of them. Only their programs and shapes are changed to attract people. Mobiles are being used by us in our daily life for different purposes and among one of them is to play games. Games are also changing over time. Interacting with mobile devices (e.g., Smartphone’s and tablets) has now become strongly embedded in contemporary societies across the world as many different types of activity can now be engaged in (e.g., gaming, gambling, and social networking).

Over the past two decades, the use of mobile technologies has evolved to comprise a set of behaviors that have become ubiquitous in people’s daily lives, especially for youth. Smartphone gaming has been one form of popular mobile entertainment engaged in on a variety of devices. Given rapid developments in mobile technology, smartphone gaming requires an in-depth exploration to ascertain factors that may contribute to problematic use. Some of them are useful, but some of them are dangerous for children. There are a lot of new games for children like temple run games, social games, puzzle games, action (PUB G and dream 11), and strategy games are the most commonly played mobile games. Actually, the games which different children play may not be similar because of their temperaments.

Everybody plays his or her own game according to his or her interest. Students use mobiles to communicate with other people. However, they tend to play mobile games often and sometimes it can be dangerous for their developing brains. Because of this, parents have the responsibility to explore the proper games for their children. They have to take some precautions against the negative effects of mobile games and get advice from their doctors or clinical psychologists to restrict the bad effects.


What Makes Games Addictive?
Consequently, games are often designed to be as challenging as possible to encourage gamers to feel a sense of accomplishment throughout their playtime. This is somewhat similar to gambling, where the house always ensures gamblers get small ‘wins’ to encourage future behavior. There are numerous ‘hooks’ within games to encourage addictive behavior.Many video games are often designed to be addictive (Young, 2009).
• Excessive permission- some parents is excessively providing the permission to their children for gaming in order to have some mental peace for some time.
• Single child: Some families have single child who don’t have any one to play for outdoor games. Such children showing more interest in mobile gaming to overcome their loneliness.
• Busy parents or Emotional Dependency: In modern scenario most parents are busy with their job and business where they are not giving enough emotional support to their children. Here children are taking emotional support from mobile gaming and becoming dependent.
• High Scores – One of the most recognizable hooks, attempting to beat a high score can keep a player playing for hours on end.
• Beating the Game – Sometimes typically the ultimate goal of playing gaming is to beat the single-player games
• Immersion & Role-Playing – Many games allow players to create their own character, often in a fantasy world that can be heavily influenced by their actions within it. As such, players can get highly attached to these characters and world they live in. Sadly, becoming over-attached to these fantasy worlds can lead to negligence towards real-world responsibilities.

Side Effects of Mobile Gaming
1 Mood problems
From a psychological perspective, Selcon Aksoy found that depression and anxiety are associated with gaming addiction in children and same findings are reported regarding adults’. Anxiety can be triggered gradually in heavy users when their smartphones are unavailable. However, a recent study observed while depression and anxiety initially positively correlated with addictive technology use proneness, depression and anxiety predicted addictive video game playing, Feelings of restlessness and/or irritability when unable to play.


2 Communication Problems or Lack of Social Engagement
Isolation from others in order to spend more time on gaming, resulted social and communication problems among children. Several studies in psychology have found out that increased time spent on the games can lead to negative impact on a person's ability to communicate appropriately face-to-face with friends, peers, family members including parents. The effect of this isolation can lead to a breakdown of communication skills and often a loss in socialization.They did not Learn how to interact with others in a real-world setting is an important social skill that may be neglected by individuals who spend too much time gaming. Such children fail to strike up conversations and feel bored and out of place at social gatherings too.

3 Attention and Concentration problems
Inappropriate usage of playing games also leads in some problems such as being distracted in school. Further, it is where the attention of the child were divided that even their health and social life is unknowingly affected. The impact of gaming will affect students' academic performance and their social behavior. Preoccupation with thoughts of previous online activity or anticipation of the next online session which can distract attention of children in classrooms

4 Sleep problems
Mobile games have both been independently linked to disruption in the sleep patterns of children in studies. Playing video games on mobile phones will no doubt continue to prevent children from getting the rest they need. Disruptions in sleep patterns, like the ones caused by mobile games, have been linked to behavior issues and sleepiness during the day.

5 Behavioral problems
Some of the side effects of action mobile games on children are aggressive Behavior, physiological arousal, and antisocial behaviors.The name of the behavior which is intended to harm another individual who is motivated to avoid that harm is aggression. Akira says in her research that violence refers to great forms of aggression, such as physical damage and harm. If a person is demonstrating aggressive behavior, he or she can commit a crime. So, this aggressive behavior turns to violence.
Children are curious and can demonstrate some negative behaviors if their parents don’t care for them. For example, some video games include killing other people, and they can feel strong when they kill somebody on the screen. They may not understand the real world if they play these games too much. Their brain is programmed for aggressiveness. Plus, some games are too long and hard, it can be impossible to beat the mobiles. As clinical psychologist I observed in some children, they really become angry, especially boys, and they throw everything when they get angry with the mobile. They even attack the mobiles for revenge.

6 Avoidance of developmental tasks
Adolescence is a time of self-discovery and personal development. In order to become mature adults who can take on the challenges of life, teenagers must learn how to confront painful emotions and awkward social experiences. When used appropriately, fantasy role playing video games can help children learn and apply valuable character traits that may help them in their interactions with others. But when video gaming is used as an escape mechanism, it allows children to avoid the developmental challenges of growing up.

7 Negative Role Model Issues
It is a fact that, young children need role models to improve their feelings and thoughts to develop their personalities. Because they need to fill some blanks in their minds, they continuously observe their environments to learn things mobile games play a big role for these children, just as some TV stars do. They perceive some imaginative characters as heroes and they try to be similar to them. Especially, children around five or six years old try to do similar actions as some playersor other characters. These behaviors may cause some dangers for them. For example, they take themselves for some heroes and try to demonstratesimilar behaviors. In fact, mobilegames are fiction, but these children may not be able to separate the truth from fantasy. So, when they see their role models killing somebody, they are more likely to try to harm somebody else.They can be threats to their surroundings and also may develop negative traits.

8 Habits and Disinterest in Other Aspects of Life
Children will try to find out ways to play the game in secret without letting you find out. He might start lying or making up excuses to play the game just for a few minutes. Lying to friends or family members regarding the amount of time spent playing. It becomes normal for children to tell lies at this stage - either by blowing up the truth to get attention, or by bending or side-stepping the truth to get the mobiles from parents, family members or friends. Some children fail to maintain basic hygiene as well, skipping baths for days on end. Your children could fuss about the food that is given, or overeat. Both these problems will lead to unhealthy food habits as she/he grows, resulting in various health issues.

Some children are showing less interest in eating food, always making excuses for not having appetite. However, some are playing while eating which affects their automatic eating mechanism. Some children are preoccupied with thoughts to reach home and started to play games whenever you order them for doing any work always refusing doing things. It is no doubt frustrating when young child refuses point blank to do as you tell him to. It is the sign of defiance of your child’s growing independence. However is not healthysign?

9 Physical Problems
Although games affect many children’s physical health. Mobile games cause obesity in children and can cause some injuries on their hands or palms. Because children have to sit on chairs and floor while playing games, could also increase the risk of developing muscle and joint problems such as back and neck pain and headaches. These side effects are overuse injuries of the hand, obesity, muscle and joint problems, eyestrain, and rarely photosensitive epileptic attacks, fatigue. Migraines due to intense concentration or eye strain, photosensitive epilepsy is a comparatively infrequent condition characterized by seizures in response to flickering light Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by the overuse of a controller and Poor personal hygiene.

(Author is Clinical Psychologist) To be continued….

Muzzafar460@gmail.com

April 16, 2019 | Muzzafar Ahmad

Psychological effects of mobile gaming on children and adolescents

              

Mobiles are one of the fastest developing technological gadgets nowadays in our society. In every-day life they change in astonishing ways .There are always new versions of mobile phones in stores and people want to buy the newest types of them. Only their programs and shapes are changed to attract people. Mobiles are being used by us in our daily life for different purposes and among one of them is to play games. Games are also changing over time. Interacting with mobile devices (e.g., Smartphone’s and tablets) has now become strongly embedded in contemporary societies across the world as many different types of activity can now be engaged in (e.g., gaming, gambling, and social networking).

Over the past two decades, the use of mobile technologies has evolved to comprise a set of behaviors that have become ubiquitous in people’s daily lives, especially for youth. Smartphone gaming has been one form of popular mobile entertainment engaged in on a variety of devices. Given rapid developments in mobile technology, smartphone gaming requires an in-depth exploration to ascertain factors that may contribute to problematic use. Some of them are useful, but some of them are dangerous for children. There are a lot of new games for children like temple run games, social games, puzzle games, action (PUB G and dream 11), and strategy games are the most commonly played mobile games. Actually, the games which different children play may not be similar because of their temperaments.

Everybody plays his or her own game according to his or her interest. Students use mobiles to communicate with other people. However, they tend to play mobile games often and sometimes it can be dangerous for their developing brains. Because of this, parents have the responsibility to explore the proper games for their children. They have to take some precautions against the negative effects of mobile games and get advice from their doctors or clinical psychologists to restrict the bad effects.


What Makes Games Addictive?
Consequently, games are often designed to be as challenging as possible to encourage gamers to feel a sense of accomplishment throughout their playtime. This is somewhat similar to gambling, where the house always ensures gamblers get small ‘wins’ to encourage future behavior. There are numerous ‘hooks’ within games to encourage addictive behavior.Many video games are often designed to be addictive (Young, 2009).
• Excessive permission- some parents is excessively providing the permission to their children for gaming in order to have some mental peace for some time.
• Single child: Some families have single child who don’t have any one to play for outdoor games. Such children showing more interest in mobile gaming to overcome their loneliness.
• Busy parents or Emotional Dependency: In modern scenario most parents are busy with their job and business where they are not giving enough emotional support to their children. Here children are taking emotional support from mobile gaming and becoming dependent.
• High Scores – One of the most recognizable hooks, attempting to beat a high score can keep a player playing for hours on end.
• Beating the Game – Sometimes typically the ultimate goal of playing gaming is to beat the single-player games
• Immersion & Role-Playing – Many games allow players to create their own character, often in a fantasy world that can be heavily influenced by their actions within it. As such, players can get highly attached to these characters and world they live in. Sadly, becoming over-attached to these fantasy worlds can lead to negligence towards real-world responsibilities.

Side Effects of Mobile Gaming
1 Mood problems
From a psychological perspective, Selcon Aksoy found that depression and anxiety are associated with gaming addiction in children and same findings are reported regarding adults’. Anxiety can be triggered gradually in heavy users when their smartphones are unavailable. However, a recent study observed while depression and anxiety initially positively correlated with addictive technology use proneness, depression and anxiety predicted addictive video game playing, Feelings of restlessness and/or irritability when unable to play.


2 Communication Problems or Lack of Social Engagement
Isolation from others in order to spend more time on gaming, resulted social and communication problems among children. Several studies in psychology have found out that increased time spent on the games can lead to negative impact on a person's ability to communicate appropriately face-to-face with friends, peers, family members including parents. The effect of this isolation can lead to a breakdown of communication skills and often a loss in socialization.They did not Learn how to interact with others in a real-world setting is an important social skill that may be neglected by individuals who spend too much time gaming. Such children fail to strike up conversations and feel bored and out of place at social gatherings too.

3 Attention and Concentration problems
Inappropriate usage of playing games also leads in some problems such as being distracted in school. Further, it is where the attention of the child were divided that even their health and social life is unknowingly affected. The impact of gaming will affect students' academic performance and their social behavior. Preoccupation with thoughts of previous online activity or anticipation of the next online session which can distract attention of children in classrooms

4 Sleep problems
Mobile games have both been independently linked to disruption in the sleep patterns of children in studies. Playing video games on mobile phones will no doubt continue to prevent children from getting the rest they need. Disruptions in sleep patterns, like the ones caused by mobile games, have been linked to behavior issues and sleepiness during the day.

5 Behavioral problems
Some of the side effects of action mobile games on children are aggressive Behavior, physiological arousal, and antisocial behaviors.The name of the behavior which is intended to harm another individual who is motivated to avoid that harm is aggression. Akira says in her research that violence refers to great forms of aggression, such as physical damage and harm. If a person is demonstrating aggressive behavior, he or she can commit a crime. So, this aggressive behavior turns to violence.
Children are curious and can demonstrate some negative behaviors if their parents don’t care for them. For example, some video games include killing other people, and they can feel strong when they kill somebody on the screen. They may not understand the real world if they play these games too much. Their brain is programmed for aggressiveness. Plus, some games are too long and hard, it can be impossible to beat the mobiles. As clinical psychologist I observed in some children, they really become angry, especially boys, and they throw everything when they get angry with the mobile. They even attack the mobiles for revenge.

6 Avoidance of developmental tasks
Adolescence is a time of self-discovery and personal development. In order to become mature adults who can take on the challenges of life, teenagers must learn how to confront painful emotions and awkward social experiences. When used appropriately, fantasy role playing video games can help children learn and apply valuable character traits that may help them in their interactions with others. But when video gaming is used as an escape mechanism, it allows children to avoid the developmental challenges of growing up.

7 Negative Role Model Issues
It is a fact that, young children need role models to improve their feelings and thoughts to develop their personalities. Because they need to fill some blanks in their minds, they continuously observe their environments to learn things mobile games play a big role for these children, just as some TV stars do. They perceive some imaginative characters as heroes and they try to be similar to them. Especially, children around five or six years old try to do similar actions as some playersor other characters. These behaviors may cause some dangers for them. For example, they take themselves for some heroes and try to demonstratesimilar behaviors. In fact, mobilegames are fiction, but these children may not be able to separate the truth from fantasy. So, when they see their role models killing somebody, they are more likely to try to harm somebody else.They can be threats to their surroundings and also may develop negative traits.

8 Habits and Disinterest in Other Aspects of Life
Children will try to find out ways to play the game in secret without letting you find out. He might start lying or making up excuses to play the game just for a few minutes. Lying to friends or family members regarding the amount of time spent playing. It becomes normal for children to tell lies at this stage - either by blowing up the truth to get attention, or by bending or side-stepping the truth to get the mobiles from parents, family members or friends. Some children fail to maintain basic hygiene as well, skipping baths for days on end. Your children could fuss about the food that is given, or overeat. Both these problems will lead to unhealthy food habits as she/he grows, resulting in various health issues.

Some children are showing less interest in eating food, always making excuses for not having appetite. However, some are playing while eating which affects their automatic eating mechanism. Some children are preoccupied with thoughts to reach home and started to play games whenever you order them for doing any work always refusing doing things. It is no doubt frustrating when young child refuses point blank to do as you tell him to. It is the sign of defiance of your child’s growing independence. However is not healthysign?

9 Physical Problems
Although games affect many children’s physical health. Mobile games cause obesity in children and can cause some injuries on their hands or palms. Because children have to sit on chairs and floor while playing games, could also increase the risk of developing muscle and joint problems such as back and neck pain and headaches. These side effects are overuse injuries of the hand, obesity, muscle and joint problems, eyestrain, and rarely photosensitive epileptic attacks, fatigue. Migraines due to intense concentration or eye strain, photosensitive epilepsy is a comparatively infrequent condition characterized by seizures in response to flickering light Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by the overuse of a controller and Poor personal hygiene.

(Author is Clinical Psychologist) To be continued….

Muzzafar460@gmail.com

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