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Online games impact children’s performance

Low attention span, lack of concentration some fallouts

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 24.03.24, 05:05 AM

Students are spending hours playing online games, a habit that is impacting their attendance and performance in school, principals of several schools said.

Many parents have shared their helplessness with the school authorities as they have been unable to wean the child off the device and online games, teachers and mental health professionals said.


A number of teachers said children often play online games till late at night, as a result of which they skip school the next morning or their focus falters in class.

“There are students whose attendance is abysmally low. When we call parents they say the child played games through the night and could not wake up early in the morning,” said Amita Prasad, director, Indus Valley World School.

Teachers across schools said that while some parents try but fail to control the child, there are many who are not bothered at all, leading to situations that snowball into something far more serious.

“Initially they get some benefit if they win which lures them the students into making higher monetary investment,” said Terence John, principal, Julien Day School Kalyani.

Recently, a Class XII boy was found hanging in a deserted building. Police said he was into online gambling and had run up debts.

Police officers have come across multiple instances of students using their parents’ credit cards to make payments.

“Usually, students in Class VII or higher classes use their parents’ credit cards on the sly. To access OTPs, they ask for the parent’s phone on the pretext of using it for studies,” said an officer in the cybercrime police station at Lalbazar.

“Some students fall prey to promises that they would be allowed to cross a
particular level in a game in return for money,” the officer said.

At times the problems become so acute that parents have to seek professional help for their children.

A Class XI boy was so much into online games that the parents had to send him to a boarding school.

“The challenge for parents is that even if they want, they cannot cut their child’s access to a device because they need it for studies and projects,” said Sanjay Garg, a psychiatrist.

Explaining how serious the problem is, Garg said some children cannot overcome the urge to play online even while undergoing counselling.

Teachers said the distraction is more immediate now.

“Earlier, the distraction was outside… but now it is right on the table. The same device that is a source of knowledge is a source of distraction, too,” said Tina Servaia, principal, senior school, Calcutta International School.

“Parents should not save any banking information on the device to prevent the child from accessing it. There are parents who are unaware that their child is using their credit cards until they get their bills,” said Servaia.

Mental health professionals warn that playing online games for too long leads to low attention span, lack of concentration, fall in grades and irritability.

“It is an extremely dangerous space to be involved in. Students end up doing many things without
being aware of the consequences,” said psychotherapist Farishta Dastur Mukerji.

The games even dominate the conversation among the children at school. “Students bet on whether one would cross a certain level in a game or not,” said a teacher.

Students have been found to be playing in partnership with someone — at times from another city — whom they have not met in real life.

“There is a danger of children getting targeted by other gamers. It becomes a concern for their security,” said Satabdi Bhattacharjee, principal, South City International School, who stressed the need to make the students aware of the dangers.

Last updated on 24.03.24, 05:05 AM

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