A mother has filmed herself hand feeding her teenage son who had refused to take a break from playing a video game during a monster 48-hour gaming marathon.
The viral shows the woman, Lilybeth Marvel making her way to a local cyber cafe in the Philippines to feed her teenage son Carlito who is seen obsessively engulfed with a battle royale PC game called Rules of Survival.
The 13-year-old refuses to look away from the screen as his mother records herself trying to force feed him during his gaming binge.
He can be seen opening his mouth to eat the food while remaining face forward, with his eyes glued to the screen, while Ms Marvel can be heard saying “my poor child, here, eat now”,
“You have so much money, it might take till tomorrow for you to get home.
“Are you still needing to pee? My goodness, just feel sorry for my child. You are so irritating.”
In the three-minute video filmed at a internet cafe in Nueva Ecija, Philippines, she also asks him if he wants to take the vitamins his grandmother has sent because she is worried he will become malnourished.
Disturbingly, the child no longer attends school because of his addiction and his parents are now pleading for help.
Ms Marvel said she used to just nag him about his online games, but it never worked.
“So I’m trying a different approach,” she said. “I try to make him feel that whatever is happening in his life, I am his mother who loves him and takes care of him.”
Last year, The World Health Organisation officially recognised “gaming disorder” as a mental health issue with the announcement praised and criticised by different psychologists and researchers working in gaming addiction.
Sydney child and family psychologist Brad Marshall said it’s not just an issue in foreign countries, but an escalating problem here in Australia, with the age decreasing year by year.
He told news.com.au that since he founded the country’s first internet addiction clinic for kids, internet Addiction at Kids Space, eight years ago, the gaming addiction age has dropped to schoolchildren as young as five.
“Kids that are six, seven and even eight years old who were well toilet trained are now having health problems because they are not listening to their bodily functions while playing games,” Mr Marshall said.
“It has become a significant issue in Australia — over the past two years I have had to turn parents away from the clinic as I can’t see them all.”
As well as providing parents free tips on his social media platforms, Mr Marshall has a book coming out in mid-July under the banner of Unplugged Psychologist to help desperate parents seeking help for their game-addicted children.
“Some parents need somewhere to go from a registered health professional on how to manage gaming and online use for teens and children.”
Professor Daniel Johnson from the Games Research Lab at Queensland University of Technology told the ABC that compulsive gaming can definitely be a problem, but researchers are still trying to figure out how it can be reliably diagnosed.
“You might be playing 30 hours a week but you might be working part-time, you’ve got a healthy range of other activities you’re engaged in, you’re in a relationship, work’s going okay,” Mr Johnson said.
An estimated 2.6 billion people play video games around the world, according to the US peak body for computer game makers, the Entertainment Software Association.
According to Game Quitters founder Cam Adair he says the WHO’s recognition of the disorder will encourage more people to get help and will mean medical professionals will be better placed to help them.