- 15-year-old William ran away from his house after having an argument with his parents over his online gaming addiction.
- According to the American Psychological Association (APA), parents should limit their children’s screen time to avoid serious future consequences.
According to a 2020 study, the prevalence of online gaming addiction is 3.50% among school children in India and it is higher in schoolboys accounting for around 8.8%.
A schoolboy named William D’Souza ran away from his residence after he had an argument with his parents over his gaming addiction. William started playing online games on mobile phones when he was 12 years old, but his parents had no idea that they would need police help one day to handle their son’s addiction, as mentioned in The Times Of India.
When William ran away from his south Mumbai residence, his family rushed to the local police station. After days of searching in the city, the local police finally found the boy in a distant northern suburb of Mumbai.
William’s parents took away his SIM card so that he couldn’t use his cell phone to play online games. But it deteriorated the condition as the youngster became more desperate when he failed to find any way to play games. He started going to the nearest railway station for a Wi-Fi connection when his parents were at their work. After seeing his increasing addiction, his parents decided to send him to a psychiatrist for counseling. But again he was found missing after a few days and his mother reached the local police station to seek help.
According to the instructions of Senior inspector Shriram Koregaonkar, the police team started their search operation. “The child’s mother told investigators that sometimes he would be so involved in these games that he would start shivering,” a police officer stated later. As per the mother’s statement, William lately became extremely violent when his parents asked him to stop playing online games.
His mother provided the police with the names and phone numbers of his friends with whom he used to play online multiplayer games and this helped a lot in searching for him. After several days of searching, the police finally found the teenager in one of his friend’s houses in Boisar (Palghar District).
Y.P Singh (IPS officer and lawyer) later mentioned that it is important for the government to set up counseling centers to deal with such sensitive issues as it can lead to something extremely dangerous for children. According to the APA, every parent should limit their children’s screen time from the very beginning to avoid any serious consequences.