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COVID-19 pandemic got 1 in 2 Indians hooked to mobile gaming: Here's how to break the habit

Playing games may help combat depression!

While social distancing and lockdown helped contain the spread of the disease to a large extend, many people also picked up some bad habits, like mobile gaming, during the pandemic while they were stuck at home.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Published : March 18, 2021 4:06 PM IST

Lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced people around the globe to lock themselves in their houses. Online classes and work from home became the new normal. While social distancing and other restrictions helped contain the spread of the disease to a large extend, many people also picked up some bad habits during the pandemic while they were stuck at home. According to a survey by technology company InMobi, nearly 1 in 2 mobile users in India got addicted to gaming during the pandemic. Mostly, Gen X (45 and above age group) mobile users were found indulging in multiplayer games to connect with family, friends, and other like-minded people on the platform, revealed InMobi's 2021 'Gaming Report, India'. Here are some key points from the survey report:

  • 45 per cent of Indians started playing mobile games during the pandemic. Typically, Indians play games in multiple short spurts in between meetings, chores, meals, etc. spending 10-minute per session. However, committed gamers spend up to an hour on mobile gaming in a single sitting.
  • Over 40 per cent of people in India have more than three games on their smartphones. Many respondents said they download a new game every week.
  • 43 per cent of the mobile gaming audience in India are women, of which 12 per cent are between 25-44 age group and 28 per cent are 45 and above.
  • Indians interact more with video ads shown in gaming apps than with those shown in other apps.

Vasuta Agarwal, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, InMobi, said that there has been a 1.5 times growth in gaming users and over 80 per cent of mobile gamers playing every day.

Among all gamers, casual and card/puzzle/board games are a popular choice whereas the committed players and Gen Z gamers are more inclined towards MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), simulation and action games.

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Why it is difficult to stop mobile gaming habit?

You tried quitting video games, but got back to the habit again after a day or two of no gaming? It is easier said than done because video games affect your brain and behaviour. When you play video games regularly, your dopamine tolerance increases. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter in our brain that is associated with pleasure and reward. Video games are challenging, and make players feel a sense of achievement quickly. This is another reason why people get addicted to it. Studies have shown that paling video games also suppresses negative emotions and hence many people turn to mobile gaming as a coping mechanism.

To put an end to your mobile gaming habit, it is important to understand what needs video games satisfy. It will make it easier to find other healthy ways to give you the same satisfaction and avoid gaming. Here are some effective strategies to quit mobile gaming:

  • Delete all forms of gaming apps from your phone instantly.
  • Try to find a competing interest to stay away from video games.
  • Learn a new skill, start playing an instrument, pick up a sport, or join a fitness class.
  • Spend more time in nature trying meditating, hiking or running.

If these do not work for you, and you relapse into the gaming habit, seeing a therapist specializing in addiction may help.

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