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25 Jun 2022, Edition - 2538, Saturday

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Columns

The Real Gaming Zone

Uma Ram

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No more are our childhood games like street cricket, hide and seek, robber and police, lock and key, set hopping, pandi or girls’ cooking with wooden toy vessels running around distributing the fake food, played live, draining the energy of children and burning their calories. Instead digital characters play for them inside gadgets draining batteries and enslaving their innocent little eyes and minds! No wonder kids get affected by defects in eyesight, obesity and juvenile diabetes.

How lucky were the children then who enjoyed childhood sans gadgets. The sweet memories of childhood, of playing outside dirtying dresses and getting beatings from mothers can never disappear from one’s mind. But when did this transition creep into our children’s lives?

Spoiling eyes and tender minds, little darlings get addicted to this so called digital mania! With their bubbling energies and fullest potentials not used positively, they resort to aggressive behaviour and display tantrums at times.

The reason for such erratic behaviour is attributed by psychiatrists to negativity-provoking games. The heroes in certain games need to attack the public, grab their belongings and escape from law. Some games demand even killing for their benefits.

Movies like `Ra One’ have already cited the dangers of powerful negative characters. Yet, only games full of negativity reign the young minds. Simulator games are even worse – harpooning animals, the player is either a human character who hunts or a wild animal that hunts its prey, killing whatever comes its way!

This eventually sows seeds of violence and gradually drains out the kindness and empathy towards fellow beings. Children start perceiving others as opponents and though for fun it is really pathetic to see them use the same words and attack modes towards their siblings and friends.

Initially, games like Kill Zone mercenary, Assassin’s Creed etc were formulated for soldiers to keep their minds alert and tune up their reflexes, prepare them for war fronts. But at which moment did these games creep into children’s area is a puzzle of all times. Refraining children from gadgets and diverting their young minds towards productive and creative work are among the greatest challenges parents face today.

Water video games of our childhood where we had to connect rings in the rods or collect tiny balls in the maze, associated with only memories of the scoldings we got from our parents for spoiling our eyesight and becoming lazy. But in today’s scenario, in a digital era, it is hard to restrain children from gadgets. In this world, productive brain train and drain games, educational gadget-based activities, craftworks, especially eco-friendly ones, and wealth from waste can squeeze their creativity and outdoor games and activities like gardening can feed their hungry brains preventing diversions!

Moreover playing outdoors in dust and mud is said to improve children’s immunity too. Children with asthma and breathing problems are said to have shown tremendous improvement after playing in mud and dust. It is up to the parents to encourage their kids to soil their wear and tear clothes like in the detergent commercials and not their innocent minds.

( The author of the column is Uma Ram, freelance writer from Coimbatore )

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own

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