Academics warn against adverse impact of e-games on children

A number of Saudi academics and researchers warned against the adverse impact of electronic games on the physical, mental and moral life of children.

December 05, 2013
Academics warn against adverse impact of e-games on children
Academics warn against adverse impact of e-games on children


Abdurahman Baras

Okaz/Saudi Gazette


JEDDAH – A number of Saudi academics and researchers warned against the adverse impact of electronic games on the physical, mental and moral life of children. Electronic toys and games have spread fast in Arab society in general and GCC society in particular. They have become part and parcel of children’s rooms in most homes. Parents are keen on fulfilling the demand of their children by making them available of all types of electronic toys and games without taking into consideration their pros and cons. According to reports, Saudi families spend more than $400,000 annually on children’s electronic toys and games.

Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, some academics and those associated with the toy business sector noted that the increased use of e-games would not only affect eyesight and neurological system of kids, but also produce a harmful impact on their behavior. Commenting on the issue, Ridwan Al-Ridwan, a researcher in Islamic Shariah, said, “Islam is not against all electronic games. The types of games and their way of use are significant.

Parents should be vigilant about their kids by always keeping an eye on them and preventing them from misusing electronic games. They should encourage their wards to use only those games that help develop their intellect and improve their capacity for thinking and visualizing. This is what Allah permitted as we could learn from the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

“The Prophet used to play with children by carrying them on his back and this made them laugh. However, the game and play becomes forbidden when they deviate one’s attention from obeying Allah.”

Al-Ridwan noted that there are a number of computer games that are designed in a way that offends Islam and misleads Muslim kids. “The enemies of Islam use this ploy to misguide our children with games promoting atheism and polytheism, besides deviating them from the divine religion of Islam,” he said.

On his part, Nizar Ramadan, an educational consultant, stressed the need for teaching children about the values of responsibility and respecting their parents. “Disciplined freedom is to be the focal point while choosing electronic toys and games. It is highly significant for parents and teachers to understand the requirements of children in accordance with their age, intellectual capacity and aptitude, and accordingly making available only those games that are good for them,” he said, while noting that it is possible to easily influence anyone during his/her childhood.

Ramadan said parents should offer a number of options in front of their kids while choosing electronic toys or games. “They should focus on those criteria that I mentioned earlier rather their design or color or attraction. This would help improve their intellectual capabilities, give them some moral lessons and be useful for them educationally, apart from their recreational aspects,” he said while warning some parents against their tendency to allow their children to always engage in PlayStation games that help children only to develop some undesirable behavior. Ramadan urged parents to have utmost vigil against children becoming addicts to games with obscene and immoral content, as well as those that instigate in them tendencies of violence and crimes.

Salem BalAhmar, an official of a PlayStation games showroom, said most of his customers are parents of children aged under 12. “A majority of the customers want some forbidden computer games. When we try to advise parents about the adverse impact of such games, some parents would give a listening ear to us while some others laugh at us,” he said.

Fahd Dawood, a PlayStation games expert, said Saudi Arabia is a major market for electronic toys and games in the region, with sales reaching over two million pieces of electronic games. He claimed that electronic games are essential at homes, as they give recreation to not only children, but also to elders after their long, hard day at work. “Moreover, the games sharpen the intellect, increase the spirit of competitiveness, and develop personal skills,” he said.

Saeed Al-Olayyan, an official at a company for marketing electronic games, blamed mobile vendors for selling banned electronic games.

“They approach customers secretly and buy cheap goods and sell them at high prices which are less compared to the rates of branded goods at showrooms. These vendors who roam about with their bags, carrying toys and games pose a big threat to the licensed traders,” he added.

December 05, 2013
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