Beyond video games

05/01/2021 General | H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori

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In November 2005, Xiao Yun, a 14-year Chinese girl, left her family home in a town in east China and never came back. After years of searching and investigating without a lead to the missing child, the authorities took the difficult decision to issue a death certificate for her and close the file permanently.

However, a surprise came 10 years later (in 2015) when the young girl was found engaged in a video game at an Internet café in the same area. It became apparent that Yun, then 24, had spent a decade doing nothing but playing video games. In her spare time, she worked as a waitress at a café; it helped her survive and well, play video games. 

There are many stories about the world of video games that go beyond our imagination. You may remember the story of the Korean couple who was so engrossed in a video game that their baby died of hunger.

Such stories lead to the conclusion that video games are a harmful scourge that must be addressed strongly. It is not surprising, therefore, that many parents have taken a firm stand in curbing the time their children spend in the virtual world.

Nonetheless, the last decade has been one of video games. The rising curve of the spread of video games peaked the highest during 2020, as the pandemic of COVID-19 contributed to making the video games sector outperform the cinema and sports sectors combined, with a value of approximately USD 180 billion.

Video games, as many modern activities, have pros and cons. On the one hand, excessive playing may lead to complications such as obesity, eye strain, spine curvature disorders, sleep disorders, isolation, and other psychological and social disorders. On the other hand, preventing the child from playing video games deprives him or her from enhancing his or her imagination, thinking out of the box, enhancing storytelling skills, solving complex problems, developing proactive thinking amongst others, as proven by studies.

In video games, as in other activities, the key lies in maintaining a balance. That is, we work to maximize the benefits and minimize the damage. Absolute rejection is just another interpretation of surrender. This is from the educational and social perspective. As for the economic perspective, wait for the upcoming article.

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