Online gaming solution – Self-help group

Theme: Positive and Negative effects on the New Media
• Online gaming solution – Self-help group
From: The Straits Time & TOUCH Community service
Text: 14 November 2007
Article: Game addicts can manage problem at centre - 150 have asked for help since it was set up last year

Note: This article has been edited to include important information
For the whole story, read here:

CYBERGAMING can be likened to fire.
'It can be a good servant or a bad master. You just need to manage it properly,' says Mr Thomas Chong.
He is the director of education initiatives at Infocomm Asia Holdings, a leading game publisher here.
Yet the thrill of going on 'quests' to kill monsters online, often as members of a group of fellow die-hards, has lured a small but growing number of the youth here into a game world they now know they need to get a handle on.
The 150 or so young people who approached a centre - set up in August last year to help computer gamers who want to manage their problem - have at least taken that necessary first step.
Mr Poh Yeang Cherng, manager of the Planet Crush cyberwellness centre, said he has seen a 'steady stream' of cybergamers asking for help, with 60 of the 150 cases getting counselled.
He avoids the label 'cybergaming addiction'.
Almost all who approached the centre were students and youth, with just a handful of adults.
The centre is part of non-profit Touch Community Services' youth outreach programme. Since 2001, Touch Community has reached out to more than 200 schools and 250,000 students, parents and teachers with its 'cyberwellness' programmes.
The issue of gaming addiction surfaced on Monday, when Ms Ellen Lee, a Sembawang GRC MP, told Parliament her nephew was a cyber-addict. She asked three ministries what measures were in place to help such people.
Infocomm Asia's Mr Chong saw positive aspects of cybergames. For instance, gamers learn to manage tight budgets, to run a soccer team, and to buy low and sell high at virtual auction houses.
But like fire, they can consume someone who lacks the discipline to prioritise things. That is where Net-savvy parents can come in.
With his own eldest child, Daniel, 12, Mr Chong has drilled in such balance.
'Now, he paces himself and stopped completely when the PSLE was near. We still monitor him in the background,' added the father of three who also lectures part-time at the National Institute of Education (NIE).
But some cyber-addicts can play non-stop for more than 12 hours a day.
Dr Munidasa Winslow, director of the Community Addictions Management Programme at the Institute of Mental Health, said he has seen patients who even fought with their parents when told to quit playing.
Student Bryan Toh, 16, failed several subjects in Secondary 3 last year because he spent all his time playing the MapleStory online game.
He would play for 12 hours and feigned illness to to avoid meeting friends.
Faced with the O levels this year, he says he has kicked his habit.
Academic and gamer Angeline Khoo, 54, felt that parents should try to understand why games matter so much to the young ones - by playing the games themselves.
'There's a lack of understanding as well, and what we need is a bit of balance,' Dr Khoo, an NIE psychologist, said.
Computer games took over their lives, but they're cured now
- Addict #1

- Addict #2

Read more on the given web-link above.
Reported by: ALFRED SIEW

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