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Involved: A lot of youngsters are hooked to online games these days.

The number of youngsters getting hooked to online gaming has seen a sharp increase over the last few years. With the Internet offering a slew of options, there seems to be no end to the number of games that people can access to. These games have been made visually enticing thereby attracting a lot of youngsters who can’t help but play these games at least 3-6 hours a day. Often the most addictive games are the online multi-player ones which include role-playing, endless levels of achievement, and chat function. Groups of players play and chat online, create a fantasy world that provides an escape from real life. Youngsters get caught in this fantasy world to the exclusion of their real life responsibilities.

Says Chandan Sai, a BSc student, “Online games are a way of connecting with the virtual world. In fact networking games like Farmville and City ville are very interesting and help us connect with a lot of people around the world which expands my social circle.  But games like Mafia wars and others can have a serious impact on the mind because they inculcate a sense of violent and hostile attitude in us.”

Dilip S, a senior associate executive with a private firm, who plays online games frequently says, “Virtual gaming is a world of endless fantasies, it can be a great stress buster at times amidst work and also reduce frustrations. It has helped me overcome inhibitions and mingle with people from all over the world. At the same time it is thrilling to play these games as they build self-confidence.”

But there are people who also play games to keep loneliness and boredom away. Anoop, a BPO employee says, “I play these games whenever I feel lonely. It gives me a sense of belonging which I don’t find with friends and family members. These games help me overcome my loneliness and relieve me from boredom and monotony at work.”

But what exactly are the factors that pull the youngsters to these games? Says A Sridhara, a psychologist, “Basically, it is lack of guidance and activity in life that drives people to derive temporary satisfaction from these games. It is just a platform to vent out their anxiety and frustration. The young also get attracted to these games because of their urge to learn something new in technology. Peer pressure also plays a major role in influencing their attitude as they are somewhat compelled to make more number of friends.”

So how can one overcome this addiction of online games? “People who are hooked on to computers and online gaming need a lot of emotional support from parents and close friends. They should get over the addiction step-by-step and spend more time with their loved ones and engage themselves in activities that contribute to a holistic development of an individual,” sums up A Sridhara.

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