When Social Gaming Took Over

Posted on May 6, 2010

Ridhi Rajpal:

Just when there was a dawn of realization among people that they need to start pushing their kids into outdoor activities and try and keep them away from video games and gaming consoles, Social Gaming came in as the unexpected new villain in the plot of a film. It started, and then it spread so badly, that people kept drowning in the swamp forgetting all the other things in life. It was an epidemic; and well, it is still a dangerous plague.

Reading an article sometime back on the internet made me understand the depth and intensity of the situation. A man forgot his wife’s delivery because he was cooking dishes on Café World, and another was found to be logging on to Farmville at least six times a day while at work. Sounds hilarious? I would rather call this a sorry state.

Games were meant for recreation and relaxation. Even the most basic games such as chess, snakes and ladders, ludo etc. were all meant for families to bond together on a holiday, or for children to spend some fun time with their siblings or cousins. But somewhere in the recent history, this basic thought was pushed aside, and what came to the forefront was instead a play with human psyche. Game developers started to employ those pursuing psychiatry in order to know what kind of things (read: moves in the game) would keep a person constantly hooked on to them. As a result — we have warfare and bloodshed games that not only make children addicted to them, but also lead to the hammering of the thought that violence is a good way to overcome all obstacles.

Of course, the concerned ones did what they were supposed to do — created awareness on how video games were bad for children. An increasing number of parents realized this as well and tried to encourage their children to indulge in outdoor play. And then it was taken for granted that those logging on to social networking sites have no potential harm to face. But strangely, the medium which was considered to be harmless became the most addictive one, and had silently and cleverly started taking everyone in its grip.

Indeed, social gaming took over everyone, be it children or adults.

This now raises serious questions on the consequences of the addiction. People have started to develop poor eyesight; have neck, shoulder and back problems as well because of constantly sitting in front of the computer. Others are simply so dependent on the virtual world for their happiness, that they have forgotten the real world and are ignoring active social presence. Delving deeper, one might also think that these games have become more like a vent for those who are perennially depressed over harsh things of life.

However, does an escape into the virtual world come forward as the best solution to us? Aren’t humans capable of doings something better to make sure that there is a balance between advancement in technology, and basic comfortable and good things of life?

Social gaming has left us stuck in the middle of a shady and scary ocean. I ask: where is the shore? Do we have someone to help us navigate? Or is it that the ones who are supposed to help us — society leaders who should act as role models — are conspiring against us for luring into a deep and unsafe trap?

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