While most kids are probably spending a good portion of their Ganeshotsav holidays playing video games and surfing social media without the stress of homework, a group of children from the Sainath Mitra Mandal are spending the festival doing the exact opposite. Every evening since the beginning of the festival, they have been performing a special skit to highlight the negative impact that Internet- and video game-addiction have on the youth.
Child’s play: Sakshi Parkhi (left) and Prashant Hole (right) and other cast members perform every night, depicting the impact of addiction to video games in children
Piyush Shah, head of the Budhwar Peth-based mandal said, “I have been researching on this topic for quite some time now, and I realised that these games, such as Angry Birds and Teen Patti were having a negative impact on kids. In some games, the children have to gamble, and in others they have to find and kill enemies. This has great impact on their psychology.”
He added, “I decided to make this the theme for the Ganeshotsav play. All the actors in the play are young children, trying to spread the message that their peers need to go out and play instead of sitting in front of a screen.”
The young actors themselves are just as enthusiastic about acting as they are about the subject. One of the actors, Prashant Hole (18) said, “Earlier, these video games were not there and kids used to go out and play or read. But now they are engrossed in video games. We want to tell them that they can play video games but they should keep some limits.”
Sakshi Parkhi (11), a student of SSPMS School, has similar views.“I play video games only for a few minutes every day. These games can harm you a lot. After acting in the play I realised this. These days I go out and play. Every kid in the mandal is trying to reduce his/her use of cellphones too,” she said.
Another Ganpati mandal, the Seva Mitra Mandal has made a short film to spread awareness about the proper use of social media. Shirish Mohite, head of the mandal, said, “We have made a film which showcases how the excessive use of social media can harm society.
We have seen how rumours spread on social media have created problems in society and how people have reacted violently. This film aims at making people aware of the good uses of social media and the importance of bringing the community together.”