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Tuesday, 11 May 2021 12:17 GMT

Oman- WHO recognises gaming disorder as a mental health condition


(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat- The World Health Organization's (WHO) recent announcement classifying gaming disorder as a mental health condition may come as a wakeup call for many in the sultanate.

The 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases manual states that watching videos or playing games online is linked to several ailments including depression and lack of concentration.

Oman too, has a big population below the age of 25 years actively involved in gaming. Indeed, over the last few years, Oman has won several impressive tournaments in Bahrain and Qatar in gaming.

Nishat Shams, a senior psychologist at the Ministry of Health said, 'Gaming can cause severe problems mainly among children and teenagers. Exposure to aggressive games can affect children and stress them out. Studies have also shown that constant exposure to aggressive games affects sleep and learning.'

Talking about the possible remedies, Nishat suggested that the best way to deal is to set age limits for various games.

Lubna al Kindi, a psychological analyst who conducts training programmes for children also agrees. 'Gaming is indeed a problem for youngsters. It affects more boys than girls. It is quite rampant in Muscat as most parents work and the children are left behind alone at home. Also, many receive gaming consoles as gifts from parents. This indirectly encourages the children to play games that exposes them to violence at a tender age.'

Sultan Khalfan, an avid gamer said that he too finds it difficult to leave a game once at it.

'I have been into games for many years and it is true, that at times these games are so addictive that one cannot leave the console for hours. There have been times, when I have spent sleepless nights to reach advanced level of fights or races. I agree that these games on many occasions did cause me sleepless nights and tiresome days. My younger brothers also have some sort of passive aggression due to gaming addiction.'

Lubna added that there are children who come to her for solutions and she suggests indulging in traditional games like outdoor football or even running in the open.

'This aids both mental and physical development among children,' she said.

Sudhin V, an expatriate said, 'I was addicted to games right from my school days. It started with Mario and then went on to Racers, Angry Birds, Temple Run and Assassin's Creed. Though I was never depressed, but I was in some sort of an unknown pressure to achieve a certain goal.'

As per the WHO report, gaming also causes insomnia, learning disorders and psychological problems among students.

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