Mobile games are an excellent way to relax, especially after a long day of school or work.
While gaming in moderation is alright, having a gaming addiction is a serious problem.
Recently, a video of a boy in China threatening his father with a meat cleaver went viral.
He allegedly got upset after his father banned him from playing mobile games.
According to the South China Morning Post, the incident occurred when the boy’s father stopped him from playing mobile games and confiscated his mobile phone.
This prompted the boy to threaten his father angrily with a knife.
Specifically, he threatened him with a meat cleaver. So you can imagine how scary that would be.
Video went Viral
The 13-second video depicting this incident went viral.
Since first being uploaded on 10 February, the video has gained 7 million views.
In the video, the boy can be heard shouting, “Give it to me.”
The boy was wearing the red scarf that Chinese primary school students are required to wear, suggesting that he is a primary school student.
Furthermore, it points to the fact that the incident probably occurred after the end of the winter holidays and when school had already begun.
An anonymous person filmed the video in Guangxi province.
The footage has gotten so viral that it ended up on Weibo’s most searched-for list after Henan TV reported the incident.
The original poster told Henan TV that the people in the video were father and son.
He also said the father tends to be more indulgent with his son’s gaming habit.
Many were concerned about the state of gaming addiction among children after watching the video.
Most netizens were shocked by the boy’s violent behaviour.
One wrote, “So scary! And there are a lot of kids like that.”
Another said, “Kids are increasingly addicted to games, and sooner or later, their families will suffer if they become too spoiled.”
Gaming Addiction Among Children in China
Gaming addiction among children in China is not a new problem.
It sparks social debate every winter and summer break as it is when children have easier access to their mobile devices.
In November 2022, China claimed they had resolved gaming addiction among youths.
The China Game Industry Group Committee made this claim after a crackdown by Chinese authorities on the country’s technology sector.
The country also froze official approvals for new titles in the gaming sector.
Furthermore, gaming companies have implemented measures to prevent minors from playing games for too long.
More often than not, these companies require players to upload their identity card and undergo facial recognition verification to prove that they are not a minor.
Tencent Games, China’s largest producer of mobile games, even made it a rule that minors can only play games produced by the company from 8 pm to 9 pm during a designated 14-day period that coincided with winter break.
Since August 2021, children have also been banned from gaming for more than three hours weekly.
However, minors have not let these restrictions stop them.
Minors simply use their parents’ phones instead to bypass the rules.
Why is Gaming Addiction so Prevalent in China?
The debate on gaming addiction is most prevalent during China’s winter and summer breaks.
With the country’s previously stringent COVID-19 policy, more and more people were turning to their technological devices to keep themselves entertained.
Gaming has also been on the rise among adults.
China Daily even reported that many residents of elderly care homes were starting to play games online.
The Chinese government has blamed gaming addiction for problems among youths, such as myopia, poor concentration, mental health problems and sleep disorders.
Thus, gaming addiction among children is a topic that comes up time and time again.
Gaming Addiction Among Children in Singapore
Singapore has also seen a rise in gaming addiction among children, especially since the 2020 COVID-19 circuit breaker.
As everyone was cooped up at home, children had to find other ways to entertain themselves.
However, how much is too much?
In January 2022, a 15-year-old boy was sentenced to 5 years of detention after killing his father for restricting his access to video games.
Though the boy had autism spectrum disorder, his counsellors noted that this did not contribute to his offence.
Counselling agencies interviewed by The Straits Times also cited the 2020 circuit breaker for increasing the rate of gaming addiction in children, with the number of cases rising to about 60%.
In February 2022, the Ministry of Education (MOE) told The Straits Times that it noticed more students getting counselled for issues related to gaming addiction.
Since the start of 2022, upper secondary students have started to experience lessons tackling cyber risks in their character and citizenship education curriculum.
Cyber risks include social media and gaming addiction.
TOUCH Youth Intervention (TYI) is a non-profit organisation that aims to empower youths, specialising in cyber wellness, mental health and youth issues.
TYI’s DigitalMINDSET programme, a nine-month programme for youths between 12 and 21 who have developed mental health issues due to excessive gaming and device usage, saw a 57% increase in registered cases from 2020.
Thus, it seems like gaming addiction among children is not just a phenomenon in China but in Singapore as well.
With gaming addiction on the rise worldwide, the World Health Organisation (WHO) added gaming disorder to its 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) in 2022.
In order to prevent gaming addiction from developing in children, counsellors have recommended a few ways to help parents manage their children’s behaviour.
Besides encouraging their kids to engage in social interaction via other hobbies or family activities, limiting gaming to two hours per day and creating a routine for schoolwork and play is also recommended.
Furthermore, parents should encourage their kids to look away from their screens when they take breaks in-between game levels.
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Featured Image: YouTube (@China.eye.life) + Dean Drobot/ Shutterstock.com
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