Ban the ban

Humour | Could online gaming actually make kids smarter?

Dear parents,

Let’s start with how much you love me. (No, I haven’t broken anything). Remember also how you’ve lectured me on ‘destructive foreign influences’. Finally, I see your wisdom. Let’s take this Made-in-China ban on online gaming. We shouldn’t let it get anywhere near us, and here’s why:

Money: Remember how Uncle crashed his car and spent lakhs of rupees in hospital bills and repairs? And in lawyer fees to the wife driving the car, who was not his (the wife, not the car). When I crash my car (a million-dollar model which I paid nothing for) I lose a few points in my racer ranking. Thank me for money I’m saving you and in tearful gratitude, offer to buy me the new console.

Health: Dads, across the globe, tell tall stories of childhoods spent climbing taller trees, and how healthy that was. You, Dad, fell off a fruit tree and broke your nose. Sorry! But that’s not so healthy. Mum says your broken nose has turned you selectively deaf too. Now, I will avoid fruit, trees, fruit trees and marital disputes. Mainly, of course, because I will never get married. But my future partner and I will spend hours side by side, happily gaming online, breaking off only to happily chat – online, too. Noses won’t enter the picture, except to support the thick spectacles we will have by then.

Success: Look at the awesome skills I’m building. I’m so competitive, Elon Musk will look out from his rocket to see mine shooting past him in outer space. I will win since I’ve already played space zombie gadzillion times online. Next, look at my focus towards a goal. Mum screams, the doorbell rings, my baby bro swallows a worm, the upstairs neighbour falls through the roof (oh, that may have been an ad), and I’m still at my game.

Happiness: You parents swear you want us to be happy. You aren’t, though. Mum, you watch hours of web series, sobbing through most. Dad’s shows have so much bloodshed that they’re sponsoring the ketchup industry. On the other hand, I’m always so happy to game that Dad says I’m turning into a vegetable. Mum, you should approve, you’re always going on about how great vegetables are.

If you’re still going to complain about screen time and its disastrous effects, let me surprise you — and agree. I hereby refuse to sit for another online class. Let’s ban school.

Where Jane De Suza, the author of Happily Never After, talks about the week’s quirks, quacks and hacks

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