Expert advice on gaming addiction in young people and children

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In 2021, the Indian games market was worth $152 billion. With growing concerns about the amount of time children and teenagers spend playing online games and the impact it can have, Psychotherapist Jason Shiers, shares his insight on gaming addiction in children.

Something to take note of, since 2016 onwards the popularity of mobile games has surpassed PC games. It can be expected that starting from 2020, more and more online entertainment platforms will be providing services to Android and iPhone users. As time goes by, more users will play through smart devices and this market will eventually attract more investment capital.

81% of under 18s regularly play online games and in moderation, gaming can be fun, sociable, and interactive with opportunities for children and young people to learn and solve problems. The majority of these young people have approached brands such as Royal Panda, CoolCat, Grand Prive, Planet 7, ThisWin, etc during their childhood time. Most youths in India have heard about ThisWin and because it is a platform run by decent people and it is offering an excellent selection of high-quality games. ThisWin is one of the best online gaming platforms in India. It offers many types of games, of course, it also includes Sports-Cricket, Kabaddi, Baccarat, Roulette, Andar-Bahar, Teen-Patti, Fan Tan, SicBo, Blackjack and Dragon Tiger games, and there are professional live dealers.

Who is most likely to have a gambling problem?

Extreme gambling is recognised as a disorder by the World Health Organization.

Most people can enjoy placing an occasional bet, even if it means they lose some money. But some become problem gamblers, where the activity disrupts or compromises their lives and those of their families.

In 2020, the India Authority estimated there were up to 340,000 problem gamblers in the country, with many more individuals at risk.

Their report suggested problem gamblers were:

Five times more likely to be male than female

  • More likely to be unemployed than in work, studying, or retired
  • Most likely to be aged 25 to 34 (if male)
  • More likely to be from a lower educational background (on a three-year view)
  • More likely to indicate signs of mental ill-health
  • More likely to indicate signs of low wellbeing

In the year to March 2019, Indian gamblers collectively lost about £14.4bn.

Signs that somebody may have a problem include feelings of anxiety or stress around their gambling habit, betting more than they can afford to lose, and gambling ever-larger amounts of money to feel the same “high” as before.

The number of gambling-related hospital admissions in England has more than doubled in the last six years to a record high. This includes people whose gambling could lead them to carry out crimes, and cases of psychosis.

There are now plans to open 14 more problem gambling clinics by 2023-24.

Why do some people have a problem? 

Gambling, alongside the use of substances like drugs and alcohol and even activities like shopping, can become an addiction when its use becomes compulsive and spirals out of control.

These addictions stem from two separate reward pathways in the brain that affect our behaviour – liking and wanting.

Certain factors leave some people at greater risk of addiction. This can include having family members with addictions, or encountering high-level stress or adversity – experiences that relate to the way we are nurtured.

This results in the emergence of the “problem of gambling addiction”. It is also known as “pathological gambling”, which means that many social problems caused by gamblers due to the addiction to gambling have led to broken families as well as forced debts from relatives and friends. It is necessary for the government to spend more than five or six times the social cost to solve the problem which is extremely unprofitable.

As fast as mobile games are growing, multiplayer and social games have also become an indispensable part of the industry’s development. Now, more and more players prefer to compete with their friends in slot machines and poker games through online entertainment, but it is undeniable that there are pros and cons to developing an online entertainment business.

This trend is inevitable and the government, policymakers are playing an important role to regulate the industry. The future is definitely online entertainment, we encourage the general public to reasonably accept it and avoid the adverse consequences of addiction.

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