Welcome to the Digital World !
Online games are here to stay. We have online games companies promoting computer/internet games as the “fun games” to attract teenagers to acquired ICT knowledge, some even goes as far as claiming online games’ ability to promote team building spirits and body neuron coordination skills.
My observation is simple, online games provide an adventure into a virtual world of fantasy to escape from reality and also gave the player to have a sense of achievement not attainable in real life. I have seen teenagers and even working adults indulging in the so called massively multiplayer role playing game (MMORPG), with eyes focusing intensely on the fast changing images on the display console, fingers tapping furiously at the keyboard, and body twitching spontaneously as in trance….
Opium, an addictive poison of the mind, was brought into China during the later part of Qing Dynasty, as we all know, opium was also part of causes for the downfall of Qing dynasty and colonization of China by foreigners. Online games available in the market now is quite different from computer games of the past. These games are addictive – it is a new form of digital drugs. Drugs that poisoned and controlled the mind! Drugs that causes addiction.
Surprisingly most of the addicted online games players are bright college students. But the sad fact is, most them are also having very low EQ – inability to speak fluently and interact with people. They can spends hours playing the games without realization of the surroundings and their physical limits. Was it a mean of self expressions and to release pressure ? I have a insecure feelings on how the excessive violence can be translated into real life scenario. What if the teenager decided to act out his fantasy ?
Online games by itself is harmless and entertaining. But for the teenager to control the time spend and selection of the contents is the problems. Most of the games contents are quite violent in nature. I have yet to come across a online game company that rate its game content ( as in rating of movies ) and limit the playing hours for the players.
My real life experiences is, teenagers with online games addictions usually do not admit they are addicted. These teenagers usually spend hours ( I mean most of the time you will see them in front of the computers, at home or in cyber cafe ) indulging in online games and displayed negative motional behaviors such as easily irritated, inability to mixed around ( maybe antisocial), inability to control time schedule and delinquency, dishonesty ( cheat codes, hackings, etc), sleep disorder, looked tired and lacked of interest in responsibilities.
As a parent, it is my sincere hope that greater awareness be generated by the regulatory agencies, internet game companies, and special interest group to educate the masses on positive and negative effects of online games in particular and “internet wellness” is general.
Obsession of having greater broadband penetrations resulting in online / internet games addictions is not the way to the way to catapult Malaysia into the new era of digital economy. There need to be a wellness program introduce and running in parallel to minimized the negative social implications. I would prefer a new generation of hardworking youth with social and human values, then a new generation of nerds hiding in remote corner launching and conducting warfares.