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Project highlights dangers of online gaming for children

It is essential to educate parents on how they can prevent problematic outcomes by managing their children’s access.

Blockchain-based play-to-earn games have proved hugely popular in parts of Asia and Latin America - Copyright AFP Jam STA ROSA
Blockchain-based play-to-earn games have proved hugely popular in parts of Asia and Latin America - Copyright AFP Jam STA ROSA

How harmful is online gaming on children? Successive global studies indicate that a child can spend even more time, money, and experience more anxiety than a professional gambler.

Addiction is one of the behavioural traits of concern. According to a Harris poll, 8 percent of video-game players aging 8 to 18 “exhibited pathological patterns of play”.

In Brazil, among children aged 10 to 18, 20.4 percent met the criteria of “gaming disorder”. Faced with this growing global crisis, the Regional Psychology Council of São Paulo (CRP-SP), has created a platform aimed at creating more conscious consumption of online games by younger audiences.

Vegas Generation, initially a term coined to pertain to children born into the digital age dominated by addictive online games, has been created to help parents, guardians, carers, and educators promote a healthier and more responsible approach to children’s online gaming activity.

Although this is a project started in Brazil, the developers are confident that it can be leveraged by caretakers across the world.

The Vegas Generation platform seeks to function as a clear guide to help to detect problematic online gaming use by children, something that has concerned parents, guardians, educators and youth advocates around the world.

The platform provides parents, guardians, and caregivers with a test in which their own answers indicate if their child is playing games beyond what experts consider a normal amount. 

The platform additionally provides suggestions and guidance on taking the first steps to deal with a child’s toxic online gaming.

Child psychologist Luiza Brandão, who has done studies about the phenomena, recommends guardians of children safeguard their children’s mental health during this online generation.

Brandão wrote an article for her postgraduate degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of São Paulo (USP) on factors associated with the misuse of video games among Brazilian teenagers.

“It is important for us to understand that video games can be incredible tools for entertainment and learning; however, their use without care by children and adolescents can lead to catastrophic outcomes”, explains Brandão.

She adds: “To provide the utmost care, it is essential to educate parents on how they can prevent problematic outcomes by managing their children’s access to this form of media, taking into account the developmental stages of children and adolescents.”

Outlining the benefits, the psychologist continues: “This is the vital role that the platform plays, centralizing scientifically based information for parents, in a language accessible to them, allowing them to make conscious and healthy choices for the development of their children”.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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