Gaming addiction in students
There are inter-ministry efforts to tackle gaming addiction and gang involvement. -AsiaOne
ELEVENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE (SECOND SESSION)
45. Ms Joscelin Yeo: To ask the Minister for Education
(a) what plans does his Ministry have in place to deal with the emotional effects of gaming addictions and gang involvement of students; and
(b) whether a similarity has been observed between the root causes of these two issues.
Dr Ng Eng Hen:
THE Ministry of Education adopts a multi-prong and multi-agency approach in helping students deal with issues such as gaming addictions and gang involvement. Students are influenced by family, peers, school and the wider society. Hence there are multiple causes for gaming addiction and gang involvement, for example, dysfunctional family relationships and negative peer pressure. Although the root causes for both gaming addiction and gang involvement are broadly similar, there is no known local research that has studied the specific association between these two. There are research studies that have linked gaming addiction or more specifically, exposure to violent game play to increases in aggressive thoughts, feelings and behaviours in youths.
MOE collaborates with external agencies and other Ministries through inter-ministry committees such as the Inter-Ministry Cyberwellness Steering Committee (ICSC), co-chaired by MOE and MICA, and the National Committee on Youth Guidance and Rehabilitation (NYGR), chaired by Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee. Programmes have been developed to raise students’ awareness of cyberwellness which include gaming addiction. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) also conducts talks for students on the dangers of gang involvement.
At the school level, school counsellors are trained by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) on Managing Addictive Behaviour. They are equipped with the skills and knowledge to identify and render appropriate intervention and support for at-risk students. The Honorary Voluntary Special Constabularies (Hon VSCs), who are selected teachers in-charge of discipline in school, will liaise with SPF and provide advice to students who are at-risk of being involved in gangs. Affected students and their families are also referred to Family Service Centres and IMH for further support, where necessary.
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