The Jakarta Post
Two teenagers in Bekasi, West Java, are reportedly so addicted to mobile gaming that a local foundation has diagnosed them with a mental health disorder.
According to Marsan, the head of Al Fajar Berseri Tambun Selatan foundation, the two teens, 17-year-olds from South Cikarang and Cibitung, have been undergoing treatment at the foundation for a year.
"This is a real example of extreme mobile phone usage caused by the advancement of mobile games," Marsan told Antara news agency on Thursday.
In their daily lives, the two teenagers are rarely seen engaging in social interaction.
"They are usually quiet most of the time, but whenever they see a mobile phone, they will automatically grab it, take it and play with it. For example, when there is a phone that is being charged, they will just take it. This happens because they are too addicted to mobile phones," Marsan explained.
According to their families, the teens’ addiction to mobile gaming began when they took up the habit of playing games all throughout the night. The addiction also affected their academic lives as previously the two were frequently absent from school.
"They even forget to eat. Even worse, when they are prohibited [from accessing mobile phones], they will get very emotional. Not only do they become furious, but they will also act out against their parents," he said.
Marsan explained that the two teenagers were not the first to experience mobile gaming addiction. One patient from Medan who was diagnosed with the same disorder received a four-month treatment program before he was sent home.
Access to mobile games, Marsan further explained, had to be controlled by parents as they had a big role in preventing this kind of behavior from developing at an early age.
Muhammad Rozak, a commissioner at the Bekasi branch of the Commission of Child Protection (KPAD), said technology could have a negative impact on children.
Although he has yet to receive any report on mental health disorders caused by mobile gaming addiction, he said that several cases of violence were triggered by mobile phone usage.
"For example, in cases of student brawls, they are mostly triggered by mobile phone usage. The same goes with child molestation, which mostly starts with access to porn sites and/or adult applications on mobile phones," Rozak said.
According to Rozak, KPAD Bekasi gets seven to 10 reports monthly of violence against children, with 30 percent of cases involving mobile gaming.
"There were seven cases in October. Some of them were caused by mobile games. Frequent exposure to violence affects children, getting them involved in crime or even acts of molestation," Rozak said.
"Parents should not be dictated by the kids. Parents should take control of the gadgets in children’s hands – not the other way around.” (trn)