Keep kids off mobiles, schools' advisory says

The move comes weeks after the WHO classified gaming addiction as a mental health disorder

Several private schools in Bengaluru have started issuing advisories to parents asking them to restrict the time their children spend on mobile phones and electronic gadgets.

It is the start of the academic year and schools are making early efforts to stop children from getting addicted. Many schools have instructed parents to set time limits on their wards' phone usage.

The move comes weeks after the World Health Organisation (WHO) classified gaming addiction as a mental health disorder. The WHO had declared that it was "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour" that becomes so extensive that it "takes precedence over other life interests".

In an advisory, the Bethany High school wrote to parents about the harmful effects of excessive use of mobile and video games by children.

"I warn you once again that this is one of the most addictive and destructive habits that they are cultivating and it will definitely affect their future lives. Please take away phones and iPads from these precious little ones. At the most, it will be one week of resentment and tantrums, but you will gain a lifetime of peace and happiness at home," the advisory reads.

Akash Rayll, director of Bethany High, said that the response the school received during an orientation programme prompted them to take the measure.

"Most of the children raised their hands when we asked them during one of the assembly sessions whether they played video games. I have also read about the damage that mobile phone addiction can cause. The buzz of a phone can have the same effect that a person addicted to gamble gets when he shuffles a pack of cards," he said.

Shashi Kumar D, general secretary of the private schools association, said many schools are taking similar measures. "Technology and gaming addiction is on the rise and there is a need to address this issue immediately. Several private schools are issuing guidelines to parents regarding this," he said.

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