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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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Tips to be a Smart Adventure Sports Lover

Adventure sports are unique in their adrenaline-inducing capabilities, owing to the thrill and 'risque' factor involved. However, a sports lover must venture into such extreme activities after being educated into the art of taking a 'calculated risk, say experts. Niharika Nigam, Business Development Director at Jumpin Heights, lists some precautionary measures that need to be kept in mind

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While going on for an adventure trip, one must pack efficiently and smartly.
traveling, pixabay

Adventure sports are unique in their adrenaline-inducing capabilities, owing to the thrill and ‘risque’ factor involved. However, a sports lover must venture into such extreme activities after being educated into the art of taking a ‘calculated risk, say experts.

Niharika Nigam, Business Development Director at Jumpin Heights, lists some precautionary measures that need to be kept in mind:

* Research on your destination and associated safety measures: The success and failure of this industry comes down to one primary aspect and that is safety. One should do some primary research on the company providing their chosen activity before visiting, look up testimonials, ratings and should take appropriate measures.

While going on for an adventure trip, one must pack efficiently and smartly.
Winter Sports, pixabay

Ask questions about the safety practices followed, understand how disciplined is the organisation in the maintenance of the same.

* Pack wisely and smartly for the trip: While going on for an adventure trip, one must pack efficiently and smartly. They should carry all the necessary trip accessories like water bottle, flashlight or torch, portable charger, sunglasses, sleeping bag sheet, medicines and some toiletries in their backpacks.

While going on for an adventure trip, one must pack efficiently and smartly.
backpack, representational image, pixabay

* Loosen up: The whole point of adventure sports is to expand our horizon, shatter the glass ceiling we set for ourselves and step out of our comfort zones. Acknowledging this larger picture pushes one to truly embrace the experience and squeeze out every ounce of benefit and glory from that one exhilarating opportunity.

Pushpendra Sharma, Founder of HotelDekho.com, suggests:

* The fitness challenge: Understanding your fitness levels is important to get the maximum out of your adventure. Do not put your health at risk by trying something that you are clearly not capable of. Ensure you have got your medical tests done and consulted your doctor before attempting something you have never done before. The tests may vary depending on the nature of the activity you are planning to indulge in.

While going on for an adventure trip, one must pack efficiently and smartly.
paragliding, pixabay

* Get insured: Buy a travel insurance plan that will safeguard you and your loved ones in case of any unforeseen incidents during your adventure trip. Before buying a policy go through the details and consult an expert to see if the plans will cover the mishaps that could result from the sport you are going to attempt. There are many insurance options, however, choosing a suitable one is always a challenge. (IANS)

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