The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said it receives about two cases a month for children who are addicted to playing electronic games. She said that in some cases treatment required that children be held in hospital. Meanwhile, a mental health specialist for children and adolescents warned against allowing children to play excessive electronic games, pointing to the possibility of falling into addiction.
The neurologist stressed the negative impact of these games in the mind and body of the child in general, warning of the danger of children and young people captured prisoners of electronic games, and spend long hours of their day in front of smart tablets, especially with the growing demand for them.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently classified "video game addiction" as a new type of disease recognized around the world.
Dr. Nadia Al-Dabbagh, a physician and mental health consultant for children and adolescents in the Authority, told Emirates Today that excessive electronic games make children vulnerable to addiction.
She added that the Authority is keen to provide psychiatric services for children and adults, within the framework of the implementation of the Dubai mental health strategy, pointing to the reception of children addicted to electronic games, and treatment, which requires the development of a plan to get rid of addiction, in cooperation between the psychiatrist and parents.
Al-Dabbagh warned of the absence of family supervision on the use of children for tablets and electronic games in particular, stressing that the Authority receives about two cases per month, for children addicted to playing these games.
Around 70% of children most vulnerable to gaming addiction belong to the under-five age group, because parents are preoccupied with them.
Al-Dabbagh stressed that the practice of electronic games, excessively, is classified as a special behavioral disorder, characterized by an impact on the individual's daily life, physically, mentally and socially.
She explained that the manifestations, through which the discovery of the child's addiction to electronic games, include neglect of family duties and study, repeated talk about the Internet in everyday life, the urge to use the Internet, and the rise of sleep suddenly, in addition to anxiety, anger and rapid mood swings, loss of Interest in activities that he used to pay attention to in the past.
"Spending long hours in front of electronic games causes vision and nervous system diseases, obesity, back and neck pain, extreme laziness, lethargy and sleep disturbance," Dabbagh said.
The negative effects of preoccupation with electronic devices also include poor academic achievement, indifference to the feelings of others, and aggressive behavior towards his brothers and colleagues.
The consultant neurologist and stroke specialist at the Rashid Hospital of the Authority, Dr. Suhail corner, that «addiction to electronic games is a disease of the times for children», explaining that recent scientific studies have proved, finally, that mental development, mental and verbal in children who use Electronic games at the age of less than six years, are slower than their counterparts, who do not play these games.
He said that a recent study of more than 400 children showed that the negative symptoms of the use of tablets appeared significantly on children who use them for more than two hours a day, compared to their counterparts who do not use it at all, or use less than two hours, where they have noticed They have great language, motor and mental skills.
Al-Roken added that electronic gaming addicts suffer from weak communication skills, and often this skill seemed almost non-existent, pointing out that «fully immersed in the virtual world of these games, for long and continuous hours, significantly isolates them from their surroundings Real Community.
He said that «the negative repercussions on the addicts of electronic games of children extend with them to advanced stages of life, and lose them the ability to work in one team, as a result of the absence or weakness of communication skill».
Studies have confirmed that the effects on gaming addicts include sleep disturbances and low quality of life disorders.
He said that the novelty of this type of addiction requires the development of plans and take several actions, because of the lack of specialists to treat the disease, and specialized centers for the treatment of globally are very limited. The treatment plan requires input from psychiatrists, educators and pediatricians.
Many recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations emphasized the need to prevent the use of children under six years of age, any smart tablet or electronic gaming devices.
He stressed that addiction to this type of games was not limited to children, but in many cases extended to mature people, especially games played through social media.
The Authority is implementing the Dubai Mental Health Strategy in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Community Protection. This strategy will establish a mechanism to deal with the phenomenon within its services, in terms of early detection and reduction.
The World Health Organization (WHO) included video game disorder in its latest version of the Disease Classification Manual, after reviewing the available evidence. Opinions in different disciplines defined this addiction as "a behavioral pattern that continues to play, to the point of taking priority over other life concerns."
3 hours a day
A global health survey of schoolchildren in the UAE, conducted in 2015, showed that 56% of school children aged 13-15 years spend three hours or more a day using electronic games, and this percentage rises to nearly 63%. Age group 16-17 years.
The study showed that children, who use excessive use of these games, may face social, emotional and behavioral problems, such as isolation, anxiety and depression, pointing out that children may complain of psychological pressure, stress or dehydration and burning eye, due to constant staring in bright light, across the screens of devices e.