A government sponsored surveys shows an estimated 2.7 million young Thais are addicted to video games and online activities, says a Bangkok Post report.
The survey was conducted between March and June this year by the Ministry of Culture, the Department of Mental Health, and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Rajanakarindra Institute.
Of the 20,000 children surveyed nationwide, 15% said they were addicted to online games, to the Line communication application, and to Facebook.
Assoc Prof Chanvit Pornnoppadol, of the department of psychiatry, faculty of medicine, at Siriraj Hospital, said youths addicted to games generally exhibit aggressive and violent behavior and can physically hurt themselves or their parents if not allowed to play their games. He said they tend to skip classes in school and often stay awake late at night playing games, which leads to poor performance in school.
“There are many young game addicts who need to be rehabilitated, but only 30 to 40 of them come to be treated annually,” he said. “This could be because their parents do not know where their children can be taken to.”
He also said rehabilitation requires being disconnected from the IT world entirely, and the amount of time it takes is equal to the time required in treating a drug addict
“Many people now just keep their heads down and look at their smart phones, and this can be seen in many public places. They’re too attached to IT,” Mr Chanvit said. “We’ll have to provide other activities to divert their attention to other things around them.”
Sura Techatat, adviser to the culture minister, said communication technology has brought both positive and negative effects, but the negative ones have more of an impact on society.
He also pointed out that certain games are illegal and the Culture Ministry is working to encourage young people to spend their time constructively, and asked the media to play a more constructive role
Playing certain games is illegal and the Culture Ministry is responsible for overseeing youths and their engagement with information technology. The ministry is working with different sectors to encourage young people to spend their time constructively, and asks the media to play a more constructive role, Mr Sura said. Image/vmodtech.com