Technology has revolutionised the world and transformed our lives from dissemination of information, to completion of difficult tasks in no time to the way we communicate with others. Indeed, human civilisation is woven with technological development, which keeps evolving. One discovery that has made a profound influence on humankind in the past few decades is the internet revolution. It completely changed the way people communicate. Rapid advancement in mobile phone technology has made its penetration into remote areas possible. But this development, which is supposed to make life easier, is destroying the careers of many young people. It is happening around the world; Nagaland is no exception. Today, many teenagers spend more time playing online games on their mobile phones than being with their books or family and friends. There are many instances of students from the state dropping out of school and college or performing poorly in studies because of addiction to gaming. This new problem – technology abuse – that was not known a decade ago needs to be addressed as young minds are the pillars of tomorrow’s society.
While online games are inevitable with the advancement in technology and improvement in internet connectivity, addiction to the digital among children is emerging to be a major problem in all societies. Considering the negative impact such addictions can cause, including behavioural issues for young people, the World Health Organisation termed it a ‘gaming disorder.’ According to the organisation, gaming disorder is defined in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behaviour (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. It warned those engaged in gaming to be alert on the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, be it digital or video, and to monitor any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning as the disorder can happen to anybody. Sensing the negative impact that spending too much time on mobile phones brings, three medical centres were set up in Uttar Pradesh this year to help children get rid of addiction and to check ‘problematic use of technology.’
There are many mobile games that are known for excessive violence, thus causing behavioural problems to the players. There are already instances of deaths due to playing games like Blue Whale, PUBG and others but young people continue to spend hours together on their mobile phone screens. If the issue is not checked now, problems associated with gaming could multiply in the future as virtual reality (VR) gaming is becoming popular. Owing to these impending issues looming large before our society, it is important for parents to monitor the amount of time their children spend with their mobile phones or gaming gadgets on a daily basis. Those addicted should be counselled because excessive gaming is dangerous and can kill people.