An advocate of education in the House of Representatives has urged parents to be more vigilant in limiting children’s access to computers and other gadgets to prevent addiction and untoward incidents on popular games, such as Defense of the Ancients or DOTA and Counter-Strike.
In a hearing of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children, Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian encouraged parents to cooperate with the government in preventing computer addiction within their households.
Gatchalian made the call following the ban of DOTA in a resolution issued by a barangay in Dasmarinas, Cavite after two teenagers were reportedly stabbed to death over differences that supposedly stemmed from playing the game.
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Under the barangay resolution, DOTA was banned because “it had already become a tool for gambling and was causing discord in the community.”
“Para hindi parating nagco-computer or nagta-tablet ang mga bata, dapat limitahan ng magulang ang kanilang paglalaro kapag nasa bahay sila,” Gatchalian said.
“Nangyayari kasi pagdating sa bahay pinapabayaan lang sila maglaro o magbabad sa Internet ng matagal kaya nadi-distract ang mga bata sa pag-aaral nila,” he said.
Last year, a 16-year-old boy reportedly stabbed an 11-year-old boy to death after hacking his account on DOTA. Also, a 17-year-old boy beat his own grandmother to death in Quezon City after the elder scold her grandson about DOTA.
Bad effects of computer games on the youth often starts from unsupervised local matches in computer shops, which often develops into gambling as players tend to push competition to an extreme with monetary bets.
With these high-stakes gambling activities among gamers, who are usually minors, these matches tend to result in violence when one party becomes dissatisfied with the result of the match.
To prevent the youth from excessively playing computer games, Gatchalian filed House Bill No. 4740 or the “Internet Cafe Regulation Act”, which seeks to prohibit all computer shops owners from admitting minors from entering their establishments within school hours.
HB 4740 also prohibits computer shop owners from allowing minors to enter their establishment from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. during weekends and holidays to limit children’s access to computer games.
In the initial deliberation of HB 4740, the lawmaker also said that parents should closely monitor the computer games and Websites their children access to their gadgets.
“Dapat din bantayan ng mga magulang kung appropriate ba sa age ng mga anak nila ang games at Websites na nilalaro o binibisita ng mga bata,” he added.
Gatchalian explained that access to computer and the Internet has become a “double-edged sword” to children as it allows quick access to information while exposing them to the risk of addiction to game and other unwanted sites.
“On one hand, Internet has allowed the masses to research and conduct work without having to invest so much on time,” Gatchalian said.
“But, we also need to recognize that computers bring entertainment through games, and children have the tendency to be easily addicted to these games as they have impressionable minds that games could easily influence,” he added. (Tim Alcantara)