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Time to tackle the menace of computer games

A number of Thai children have become addicted to computer games, which can be destructive not only to their social behaviour but also their studies.

There have been a series of cases of some children unknowingly committing violent acts because they were imitating scenes they have seen on computer games, some of which contain graphic images. Of course, not all the games are bad. But now that surveys have revealed that Thai children may be spending too much time on games, their parents and schools should help them by providing alternative activities that can be more constructive than spending hours in front of the computer terminal.

A survey from the Culture Ministry revealed that Thai children spent around 2 hours a day playing computer games. About 80 per cent of them choose the combat-style, action-packed games, some of which come with graphic and violent images. The addiction can affect their personality as they become more prone to bursts of anger and violence. Without proper guidance, some are unable to distinguish between fantasy and the real world.

But why do children prefer to spend hours and hours playing these games? A survey conducted last year showed that 78.5 per cent of youngsters said they became addicted to computer games to relieve stress, 67.7 per cent said they were lonely, 20.9 per cent said that they wanted to improve the computer skills while 18.1 per cent said they wanted to meet new friends in cyberspace.

Now that the youngsters have told us about their problems, it's time for the adults to step in to help them. The adults should provide them with better and constructive recreation activities to help them deal with stress. Constructive activities such as sports or music for instance can also help them develop their thinking and personalities during their formative years.

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