As many as 10 percent of local primary school students could already have gaming addiction problems, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing a survey.
The survey by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) Department of Psychology polled 2,006 primary four to six students between March and May.
It found that 9.8 percent of the respondents have a high risk of gaming addiction or are already addicted to video games.
Addicts have shown three common characteristics — they realize they spend too much time playing video games (60.3 percent), they want to play video games again after they are done playing video games (55.2 percent) and they think about video games when they are not playing (34.6 percent).
HKU professor Cecilia Cheng, who led the study, said the amount of time children spend on gaming is worrying. The exposure to violent video games could also impair their physical and mental health, she said.
On average, the students played video games 3.6 days a week and spent eight hours a week on gaming.
Male respondents spent 11 hours on gaming on average and 13.9 percent of them spent over 21 hours per week on gaming, which means over three hours a day on average.
A primary school teacher, surnamed Fong, said she noticed that students from the 12 classes of primary five and six at her school generally spend one to five hours a day on gaming.
Fong also noticed that those students who have spent more time on gaming tend to fare worse in their studies, hk01.com reports.
In an extreme case, a 10-year-old student is said to have taken the smartphone of his parents after everyone had gone to bed and the boy played for 10 hours straight without sleep.
Prof. Cheng said parents should seek to understand their children’s gaming issues. Many of them are “forced” to play under peer group pressure, according to Apple Daily.
There were also instances where students played simply because they were bored, Cheng said.
In tackling a gaming addiction, parents are urged not to impose strict bans but rather negotiate and agree on a reasonable timetable for gaming.
Cheng said the key is to help students manage their game time. Parents should also make time available to interact more with their children to minimize their reliance on electronic devices.
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