Why the Appeal?
The life of a Singaporean student is power packed with school lessons, co-curricular activities (CCAs), tuition and other enrichment courses and remedial classes. After a long day, it's no wonder that some students would try to relax and de-stress by playing computer and mobile games.
Have you ever wondered why computer gaming is so appealing?
Gamers can play for hours because the games:
- Have impressive graphics and sound
- Use motion controllers which makes game play very realistic
- Have engaging storylines
- Allow players to play and compete with friends and even other players around the world simultaneously
In itself, computer gaming is simply a mode of entertainment and relaxation for an individual, a group or family. Why computer gaming has raised concerns is because a gamer may go out of control and allow the game to hinder important priorities in his life.
What to watch out for:
One particular genre of games that parents should pay special attention to is the Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) or virtual world games.
What Are MMOGs?
There are many genres of games available in the market, but the games genre that is the most addictive is the Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). MMOGs allow huge number of players to participate and play concurrently in a shared world which is accessible after they install the software of the game.
Popular MMOGs on PC in Singapore include League of Legends, DOTA 2, Hearthstone, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2 and Grand Theft Auto 5. Many children and teens play computer games as their favourite past-time. Some young gamers have very little real-life interests besides computer games. They are also playing games anywhere and anytime on smartphones and various mobile gaming consoles. Popular mobile MMOGs in Singapore include Clash Royale, Clash of Clans, Pokemon Go and Minecraft etc.
It used to be easier for parents to monitor their children’s gaming hours and to get them off the computer once they exceed the time limit set.
However, mobile technology and smartphones have made monitoring more difficult.
A survey by market research company Nielsen in 2013 showed that 87% of mobile phones in Singapore are smartphones. It is Asia Pacific’s highest smartphones penetration rate together with Hong Kong, followed by Malaysia (80%), Australia (75%) and China (71%). Singapore ranked second in tablet ownership with 47%, behind Hong Kong (57%) and followed by Malaysia (42%).
With huge improvements in technology, smartphones are like mini computers that our children and youth carry everywhere they go. It is common to see them glued to their mobile devices and disconnected from their physical surroundings.
A point to highlight is that mobile devices like smartphones and iPads, etc. provide easy access to thousands of online games which can be downloaded easily within seconds.
Tips for Parents
- Familiarise yourself with the games that your child is playing. Check out Parents' Guide to Popular Games in Singapore.
- Buy video games which are age appropriate for your child. Use the Video Games Classification System by the Media Development Authority (MDA) as a guide.
(for 16 and older)
(for 18 and older)
(Not allowed for all ratings)
- Introduce music, arts or sports activities to your children to divert them from gaming.
- Educate your children to:
- Complete their schoolwork or any chores first before gaming
- Take breaks regularly from gaming
- Spend the majority of their free time on non-gaming activities
- Involve the family in their gaming and internet activities
- Implement family rules for gaming and consistently enforce consequences if the rules are broken
- Do not reward your child with more gaming-related devices e.g. PSPs, Nintendo DS and smartphones.