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Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Sick gamers on the rise !

Parents seek help for addicted kids

Experts: Too much gaming has more serious effects than most people realise

For many Malaysians, it is no longer just a game.

Desperate parents trying to get their children to kick their addiction to computer games have started to seek professional help for them.

At least two psychiatrists interviewed by The Star confirmed that the issue is becoming a growing problem among children and young adults in Malaysia.

University Malaya Centre for Addiction Science deputy director Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Muhsin Ahmad Zahari said he had seen five patients, aged 14 to 26, for possible games addiction last year.

He revealed that the small number did not indicate the seriousness of the issue as many gamers were unaware of the problem they were having and thus did not seek treatment.

“It is potentially a growing problem and there is a need to create more awareness on this.

“Otherwise, it can become an illness when these gamers come in late for treatment,” he said yesterday.

Dr Muhammad Muhsin said a comprehensive database should be compiled so that medical experts could set up a plan to manage the problem.

He said the problem was indicative of a disorder if gamers start to behave compulsively when playing or tend to get into a fight over it.

“It can be an addiction if it affects their relationships with other people and disrupts their normal routine,” he added.

In one case, a 14-year-old boy went into a rage when his parents cut off the Internet subscription. He smashed the television set and the PC, Dr Muhammad Muhsin said.

“If gamers feel that they have used a lot of time or money to play the games, have difficulty resisting it and get upset easily, they should start seeking professional help.

“The reasons may be due to the person’s poor attachment to their parents, lack of parental supervision and peer pressure,” he said.

“They could be using the Internet to overcome their mood disturbances too.”

Hospital Penang consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Lai Fong Hwa said with improved Internet access and faster communication, more younger people were playing video games.

“There may be a concern that their social life may be affected and they will have problems developing social skills,” said Dr Lai.

Scuffles a common sight at cyber cafes, say gamers

  Blurred reality: experts say games addiction could affect the development of children’s social skills.

PETALING JAYA: With titles like World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm and Left 4 Dead, it is no surprise that video gamers are hooked for good.

However, these fans are adamant that they do not become aggressive despite the brutal nature of the game.

They said that last Saturday’s attack at a cyber cafe in Selangor, where a man slashed someone for hogging the computer, was an isolated case.

At that time, the victim was playing Dota (Defence of The Ancients), which involves two teams pitted against each other with the goal of destroying their opponent’s base.

“It’s irrational to fight or even stab someone over something like that,” said marketing executive Ivan Yong, 25, who is an avid computer gamer.

But he admitted that there were many short-tempered players and that scuffles were not uncommon among players at cyber cafes.

“Personally, I think gamers get violent when they invest too much time in their games. And they lose it when a teammate or opponent spoils it for them,” said Yong, who admitted to being less level-headed during his younger days.

A fellow gamer, who wished to be known only as Hammi, agreed with Yong.

“Yes, gamers tend to get violent sometimes. Sometimes they may not realise what they have done at that time,” said Hammi, 26.

“As a fellow gamer, I think it’s important to differentiate between reality and playing games,” she added.

Student Kae Jun, 17, conceded that many of them were addicted to the games.

“Some people play games so often that it is part of their routine. If they don’t get to play, they will get frustrated,” he said.

Businessman Joe Chee, 27, and student Min Jie, 18, who are both regular cyber cafe goers, said outbursts were common there.

“Some gamers tend to be violent and toxic. They let their emotions get the better of them,” said Chee.

“They would even curse their opponent’s family. Then a fight would break out,” Min said.

Both noted that cyber cafes that enforce a “no noise” policy tend to be less hostile.

“Those loud players have no consideration for others with their endless screaming. You see different types of people at a cyber cafe,” said Min.

All the gamers interviewed agreed that players should not let their love of the game get the better of them.

“It’s important to realise that every time you get upset, it drains your emotional energy.

“Losing your cool makes you tired,” said Chee.

Duo in cyber cafe brawl remanded for four days

PETALING JAYA: The two men who slashed a youth after fighting over a computer console at a cyber cafe have been remanded until Thursday.

According to Serdang OCPD Asst Comm Razimi Ahmad, the duo allegedly slashed a man in the neck with a parang for not letting one of them use the computer console.

During the incident at a cyber cafe in Taman Bukit Serdang at about 10pm on Saturday, the suspect got into an argument with an employee at the cyber cafe who was reportedly hogging a computer he wanted to play on.

They had a war of words and the suspect, who is in his 40s, left the place.

The suspect returned to the cyber cafe at about 11.30pm with a friend carrying a badminton racquet bag which contained a parang and a plank.

In a fit of rage, the two men attacked the employee with the parang and plank.

The cafe management managed to break up the scuffle and told the men to take their dispute outside before shuttering the place.

The trio reportedly continued their fight at a nearby restaurant, where police said the victim was slashed in the neck.

Witnesses claimed that about four friends of the victim came to his aid and slashed the suspect with his own parang before subduing his accomplice with the plank.

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