All schools in Delhi have been issued an advisory on practices to be followed to ensure that children maintain safe practices while playing online games.
The advisory for parents and teachers, designed by the central government’s Department of School Education and Literacy, has been issued by the Directorate of Education.
Explaining the need for the advisory, the circular states, “… the closure of schools due to the pandemic has increased use of mobile and internet by children. However, online gaming has many downsides. Playing online games leads to a serious gaming addiction which has been considered a gaming disorder.
The game is designed in a way that each level is more complicated and complex than the previous one.
This causes a player to push themselves to the limit in order to progress in the game. Therefore, playing online games with no restriction and self-limits leads many players to become addicted and are eventually diagnosed with gaming disorder. The gaming companies also emotionally compel the child to buy more levels and almost force in-app purchases.”
The advisory includes pointers on online safety precautions such as telling children to use screen names and not reveal their real names; advising them not to communicate with strangers over webcam, private messaging or online chat; advising them not to click on links, images and pop-ups or to download software from unknown websites.
The pointers to check that their behaviour is healthy include looking out for ‘unusually secretive’ behaviour; a sudden increase in phone numbers and email contacts; sudden change in screens on their device when approached; keeping an eye on falling grades and social behaviour; helping children understand that some features are designed to increase playtime and spending money, and talking to them about gambling.
The advisory also directs teachers and parents to report untoward incidents to the government’s cyber-crime reporting portal.