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Outdoor games make kids smarter

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By Nishant Arora

If the news of two Delhi brothers who were so hooked to video games that they became too lazy to even go to washroom and were treated in a rehab facility for a month shocked you to the core, it is time to take a serious look at how much time your kids are spending on latest video gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation at home.

The video game addiction is for real and despite several recent studies telling us that they can make your kids sharper and smarter, it is time for parents to do a reality check before it gets too late.

“The video gaming addiction can lead to various health hazards in kids. Little, dedicated time on video gaming is fun but when kids get hooked to games, shun outdoor activities, avoid socialisation, cut on their sleep time and start loosing interest in most other things, that is when it become a grave concern,” Dr. Samir Parikh, director, department of mental health and behaviourial sciences at Fortis Healthcare, told IANS.

Last December, researchers from the University of Utah US released findings that showed that brains of compulsive video game players are wired differently.

While some of the changes are predicted to help game players respond to new information, other changes are associated with distractibility and poor impulse control, the researchers noted.

“Those with internet gaming disorder are obsessed with video games, often to the extent that they give up eating and sleeping to play,” says senior study author Jeffrey Anderson, associate professor of neuroradiology in a paper published in the journal Addiction Biology.

According to Dr. Shobhana Mittal, consultant psychiatrist at Cosmos Institute of Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences (CIMBS) in New Delhi, video gaming stimulates the dopamine neurotransmitter pathways in the brain – thereby making it an addictive activity for some.

“Instant gratification of pleasure experienced during gaming can lead to poor impulse control in children. Spending too much time on gaming can deeply impact a child’s physical health as well as psycho-social well being,” Mittal told IANS.

Another study that came out last October surprisingly found that children whose parents are very anxious and emotional are likely to play more violent video games tha their peers.

“It is not surprising that warmer and more restrictive parents, or what we call authoritative, are most effective at reducing the amount of violent video games played by their children,” said Russell Laczniak, professor of marketing at Iowa State University.

Researchers identified the effect in all children, but it was stronger for boys and first-borns.

The best solution, however, lies at home only.

“Parents need to encourage outdoor activities, help children develop hobbies, encourage them to interact more with friends. If they feel that children are spending too much time on online gaming, then must talk to a counsellor if the duration is not reduced,” Parikh advised.

Parents need to set appropriate limits for their children with regards to the type of video games permitted and time spent on them.

“Video games at a very young age should be avoided, so that children can have an opportunity to develop other interests and hobbies at this age,” Mittal added.

Children should be encouraged to participate in alternate fun activities depending on their interest, including playing outdoor sports, music, dance, art or interacting with other children their age, which would contribute to a child’s all-round development.

“If parents want to reduce the amount of violent video games that their kids play, be warm when dealing with them, but somewhat restrictive at the same time and set rules and those rules will work,” Laczniak suggested in a paper that appeared in the Journal of Consumer Affairs.

In your childhood, you also must have played platform games like “Street Fighter,” “Pacman” and the quintessential “Mario” on those huge coin-operated machines in dingy ice-cream parlours with joysticks and buttons — amid the constant threat of being caught by your parents.

But, warn health experts, parents must realize that video gaming is now part of their home settings and must be restricted — especially where both parents are working – to watch your kids grow healthier and smarter. (IANS)

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Tendulkar’s Advice To Kohli, says,”Let Your Heart Guide The Way”

Kohli emerged the lone batting star for the visitors in the 31-run loss at Edgbaston, with scores of 149 and 51, which also led him to topple banned Australian batsman Steve Smith from the No.1 Test spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings.

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Kohli emerged the lone batting star for the visitors in the 31-run loss at Edgbaston, with scores of 149 and 51, which also led him to topple banned Australian batsman Steve Smith from the No.1 Test spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings. Wikimedia Commons
Kohli emerged the lone batting star for the visitors in the 31-run loss at Edgbaston, with scores of 149 and 51, which also led him to topple banned Australian batsman Steve Smith from the No.1 Test spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings. Wikimedia Commons

Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday urged skipper Virat Kohli to continue his brilliant batting exploits and let his heart “guide the way”, as an under-pressure Indian team prepares for the second Test at the Lord’s, after losing the five-match series opener at Edgbaston.

Kohli emerged the lone batting star for the visitors in the 31-run loss at Edgbaston, with scores of 149 and 51, which also led him to topple banned Australian batsman Steve Smith from the No.1 Test spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings.

In the midst of all the criticism from various quarters for failing to guide India to a win in the opener, Kohli, however, attained the career-best No.1 Test ranking and the first time that any Indian batsman had achieved the feat since Tendulkar himself in 2011.

“I would say, just continue, he’s doing a fantastic job so just continue,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.

Sachin credited full support to the sports in India
Sachin credited full support to the sports in India

“Don’t worry about what’s happening around you, keep your focus on what you want to achieve, and let your heart guide the way.

“Along the way there will be plenty of things said and done, but eventually, if you are passionate about what you want in life, then the results will invariably follow,” the batting icon added.

Tendulkar, however, warned the 29-year-old against any complacency, now that he has scored his maiden Test hundred in England.

“I can tell you from my own experience, however many runs you score they are never enough,” Tendulkar said.

Kohli emerged the lone batting star for the visitors in the 31-run loss at Edgbaston. Flickr
Kohli emerged the lone batting star for the visitors in the 31-run loss at Edgbaston. Flickr

“You want more runs, and that is the case with Virat. However many runs he scores, it will never be enough for him.

Also Read: Virat Kohli Grabbed The Position of Top-Ranked Batsman in ICC Test Batting Rankings

“The downfall starts when you are satisfied. It’s nice to be happy, but never be satisfied when you are a batsman. Bowlers can only get 10 wickets, but batters can go on and go, so don’t be satisfied, just be happy,” he said. (IANS)