With the influence of virtual reality and first-person view (FPV) mobile and TV games growing among young kids, the detrimental effects of these games have now started to manifest in the form of temperamental changes among children, raising concerns in the medical fraternity.
Talking to India Today, senior physician Dr SK Kalra said that these games and TV programmes promote violent and aggressive behaviour among children, which increases the level of neurotransmitters – dopamine and adrenaline – in their brains, modifying their brain chemistry permanently.
He said that although these neurotransmitter levels can be lowered through medical intervention, it should be seen as the last alternative and the initial efforts should be to try and regulate the behaviour of the kids at home.
According to Dr Kalra, the virtual world affects their brains so badly in their formative years that recovery from the changes becomes nearly impossible and the children develop an “intermittent explosive disorder” (IED), which is a kind of psychological illness.
Dr Kalra claimed that there are medicines to correct this disorder, but they should be used after psychotherapy fails to control the violent tendency in the kids. This disorder is not limited to affluent families alone, as it is fast spreading among the middle-class too.
Laying stress on good parenting, Vishal Sharma, vice-chairman of Hindustani Biradari, an organisation that promotes communal harmony, said that aggressive tendencies among kids are on the rise these days. Psychological disorders like Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and IED are becoming increasingly common among middle-class children too.
THE NOISE IN MY HEAD
Part of the blame lies with the ubiquitous mobile phone. Big-screen televisions and cellphones have become bedroom accessories these days and due to the continuous presence of electronic noise in the bedrooms the sleep cycles of kids have altered.
Also, due to the changed educational requirements and fast-shrinking family sizes, physical activity among kids has dropped immensely, relegating them to the confines of their homes where they are continually assaulted by electronic noise.
Sharma said that all these factors, along with the lack of judgement on the part of parents, result in altered behaviour among kids. He said that it was quite a common scene in small towns like Agra to see parents taking their young kids to movies which have been certified as U/A or A by the censor board.
It’s clearly an example of bad parenting on the part of the parents, but it was also equally true that with the practice of joint families on the decline and the number of nuclear families growing, parents did not have anyone to take care of their kids in their absence.
He said that the parents need to watch out for early signs of such aggressive behaviour among their kids and spend some time with them as soon as they come back from school so that any subtle changes in their behaviour do not go unnoticed.
If the kid starts showing any aggressive tendencies, seeking psychological help is the right way to tackle these issues, along with building a supportive environment at home.