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Mumbai Teen Hangs Self After Father Takes Away Phone!

Tragic End to a Gaming Obsession

In a heart-wrenching incident in Malvani, a 16-year-old boy succumbed to the perils of gaming addiction. The teenager, engrossed in video games, faced a fatal confrontation with his father over the excessive gaming habit. The dispute culminated in a devastating turn of events as the boy was found hanging in the kitchen. This tragedy sheds light on the serious repercussions of gaming addiction among minors.

The Night of Despair

The fatal night unfolded on November 16th when the boy’s father intervened, urging him to cease playing video games. The ensuing argument escalated to a shocking end, with the boy hanging from a tin hook in the kitchen, a dupatta tightly wound around his neck. Despite the father’s attempts to rescue him, the teenager was pronounced dead on arrival at a private hospital.

Prior Warning Signs

Disturbingly, the teenager had previously issued threats of self-harm if his gaming endeavors were thwarted. The severity of the consequences, stemming from a seemingly trivial dispute, underscores the critical need for awareness and intervention in cases of gaming addiction among minors.

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Silent Struggles in the Pandemic Era

The lockdowns of the 2020 pandemic compelled parents to introduce electronic devices to their children, inadvertently paving the way for a surge in gaming activities. What began as a pastime for many youngsters evolved into a perilous addiction with potentially fatal outcomes.

Gaming and Suicide: A Troubling Trend

This tragic incident echoes a concerning trend where children and teenagers resort to extreme measures, including suicide, when confronted with restrictions on gaming. The notorious “Blue Whale” game, which encouraged self-harm, and the widespread addiction to games like PUBG leading to suicides prompted governmental actions, such as the ban on PUBG and the subsequent introduction of BGMI (Battlegrounds Mobile India).

Personal Testimonies: A Glimpse into the Dark Side

Dibyarup Aich, a Computer Science and Engineering student, shared insights into the dangerous allure of gaming. A personal encounter with the game “Clash of Clans” led him to misuse his mother’s debit card, spending over 8k without her knowledge. The consequences were severe, with scolding and physical punishment, pushing him to abandon the game.

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Expert Perspectives: Identifying and Combating Addiction

Dr. Paul Croarkin, a Mayo Clinic child psychiatrist, emphasizes the importance of recognizing the signs of gaming addiction. Abandonment of once-enjoyable activities, academic decline, and strained social relationships are red flags. Gaming addiction often serves as a manifestation of broader mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Key Strategies for Parents: Dr. Croarkin’s Advice

  1. Communication: Open and honest communication is crucial in understanding and addressing a child’s gaming addiction.
  2. Setting Strict Rules: Establishing and enforcing strict rules for screen time is essential. Consistency is key.
  3. Treating Devices as Privilege: If a teenager fails to meet basic family expectations, internet time and device usage should be considered a privilege. Seeking professional help is not to be feared.

The Dopamine Dilemma: Understanding Addiction

Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman delves into the role of dopamine in addiction. The hormone, associated with feelings of pleasure, creates a cycle where increasing tolerance demands more dopamine hits. Understanding this cycle is crucial for combating addiction effectively.

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Breaking Free from the Chains

While addiction is formidable, it is not insurmountable. Parents, educators, and mental health professionals play pivotal roles in guiding individuals away from the clutches of gaming addiction. Recognizing the signs, implementing strict yet compassionate measures, and seeking professional assistance collectively contribute to breaking free from the chains of addiction.

Sources: Times of India, Youtube, Indian Express, India Today

By Soujanya Das Roy, reporting from Kolkata for True To Life

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