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Abu Dhabi Police have issued a fresh warning against violent video games. Image Credit: Pixabay

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Police have issued a fresh warning against violent video games, cautioning parents that the games encourage risky and aggressive behaviour among children.

In a social media alert, the police said the games – played either online or offline – also have severe negative effects on children’s psychological wellbeing, including addiction and recklessness. Some children also end up isolated and detached from reality, and become open to committing crimes, the officials said.

In the statement, the police warned that children often adopt violence as a means of entertainment because they get desensitised to aggression through gaming. This can lead to them bullying others.

Parents must therefore keep a close watch on children’s online activities, the police urged. They must also enforce strict controls on the type of gaming apps children can access, especially as some can promote fear, anxiety, depression, and even hate.

Growing threat

Recently, a forum in Dubai heard about the risks of online gaming from experts in the field, including how they can be used to spread fear and hate. While cybercrime officials testified to the low rate of such crimes in the UAE, they nevertheless urged caution and care among parents and guardians.

Last year, Dubai Police reported that it had received a complaint about cyberbullying involving a 12-year-old boy who was targeted by his classmates on social media.

Widespread gaming

The UAE is known to have one of the fastest growing markets for gaming in the world as a result of the widespread penetration of technology and mobile phones in the country. Games and esport analytics platform Newzoo predicted a compound annual growth rate of 15.1 per cent through 2024 in the Middle East and North Africa region, compared to 10 per cent globally.