MANILA, Philippines — More than two billion people play video games worldwide, based on the 2017 report released by the Global Games Market intelligence firm Newzoo.
Gamers come from all ages, with the average age being 35, based on gamer demographics reported in the 2015 Essential Facts about the computer and video game industry by Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
The PEW research Center also noted in a 2018 survey that overall, 84 percent of American teens said they have or have access to a game console at home and 90 percent said they play video games of any kind. The “teens” mentioned in the report refers to those ages 13 to 17.
For most, gaming is a fun hobby but for others, it can be destructive and can lead to significant impairment in personal relationships, work, education and overall well-being.
The growing number of young people persistently engaging in digital or video-gaming has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to classify gaming addiction as a mental health disorder in its 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
The WHO described gaming addiction as a pattern or recurrent gaming behavior so severe that it takes “precedence over other life interests.”
READ: Gaming addiction classified as mental health disorder by WHO
In many parts of the world, gaming addiction has already been identified as a major health issue.
How do we detoxify the youth from excessive computer gaming?
A group of sports enthusiasts in the Philippines suggest for parents to enroll their children in sports playing activities, such as martial arts.
According to JM Carlito Lañada, Jr. of Kuntao ng Pilipinas, practicing martial arts not only instills discipline in young people as it also helps them exercise and avoid bad vices.
“Actually, napakahalaga sa pagiging martial artist mo matuto kang disiplinahin yung sarili mo, then mababawasan yung pakikipagbarkada magkakaroon ka na ng sariling self-discipline. ‘Yung mahabang pasensya and ‘yung respeto sa lahat ng tao sa paligid,” he said during the third Inter-school Youth Martial Arts Games that opened in Bonifacio Javier National High School in Mandaluyong City last Sunday. The tourney aims to teach self-defense and discipline among young people.
(Being a martial artist can help instill discipline in a person. It can also help reduce idle time with bad peers as it will promote self-discipline, patience and respect for people around you.)
John Joseph Hugo, head of Jendo Mandaluyong Association, also believes that getting the youth involved in martial arts and other physical activities will help them wean off video-gaming.
“Kaysa mag-gadget, maglaro ng computer mag ML [mobile legends],yun ang nakakasira ng kalusugan, ng pangangatawan at pag-iisip ng isang bata. Dito, ‘pag nag-martials arts ka, mamomotivate kang ma-discipline sarili mo, maiiwas sa bisyo,” he said.
(Instead of using electronic gadgets or playing computer games such as ML, that can lead to health and mind deterioration in children, they should practice martial arts to motivate them, instill self-discipline and avoid bad vices)
Theresita Biscaro and Engr. Ecel Aquino, who both lead local martial arts groups, also attest to the positive effects of playing sports in detoxifying their children from gaming and gadget use.
“Like yung mga anak ko, lagi na lang [nakaharap sa] computer or sa cellphone. They have time para maalis sa paggamit ng mga ‘techy.’ Then sa karatedo sila, ‘yung oras nila naisasabay sa martial arts, at the same time time, physically nagiging fit sila,” said Karatedo sa Pilipinas Vice President Engr. Ecel Aquino.
(My kids often use computers and smart phone. To give them time away from ‘techy’ gadgets, they practice karatedo, which also makes them physically fit)
“Nagkaroon ng time ‘yung mga bata na hindi humawak ng gadget kahit na anong gadget habang nandito sila sa training. Nagii-start kami from 1pm-4pm yung mga bata bawal humawak ng gadget so talagang concentration nila ‘yung pag tetraining nila martial arts,” said Theresita Biscaro, the President of Jendo Philippines Association.
(Children can have time away from any gadget during training. During training from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., kids are not allowed to hold any gadget as they need to concentrate when practicing martial arts)
Martial Arts enthusiasts also stressed that practicing sports and other physical activities are important things to help the youth, especially those who are addicted to video gaming, to help them regain equilibrium of mind, rekindle physical relationships and improve their overall well-being. – Robie de Guzman (with reports from Nel Maribojoc