Sunday, May 15, 2022

Online games and the idea of beauty

(Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay)

The default perception about online games is that they are all bad. No, I won't say that. 

There are many that are good. Those are the ones that challenge you to solve problems and make you think. 

There are some others that improve your general knowledge; or language / mathematical / coordination skills.

They are all fine. 

But what's worrying are the games that play on emotions of children and young adults.


Many of these games are what are called fantasy games in which the player is allowed to create a story by choosing from options that the game presents at regular intervals. Some of them are called 'beauty games', targeted at girls.

I am not going to give examples of such games. Give a web search or go to the play store on your mobile phone. You will find plenty.

These are by no means new. They have been there for decades. 

More and more of them are being created; and the more we get dependent on the internet and phones, the reach and influence of these games too grows.

Many of these games play on the characters' beauty and style; and the story plot involves romance, dating, marriage, and sometimes adult themes and situations.

You as a player can choose things that you think are impressive. Or, you can dress up / glam up a character with the available set of clothes. Or, you can make these characters handsome or beautiful.

Though it is said that you are the protagonist and you can choose how the story develops, it's not exactly so. You don't have a free hand to build a story of your liking. 

Remember these are games, where there are winners and losers depending on your idea of what is beauty. It has to match the standard set by the developers of the games.

That's where the danger lies. 


The developers of these games have decided who exactly is a handsome man or a beautiful woman; what sort of dress makes them attractive to the opposite gender; what you need to do to win a date; or to get married and lead a happy and successful life.

There is a lot of stereotyping in these games, and that's very harmful. Young boys and girls, by getting hooked on to such games, tend to develop totally falsified ideas of what is beauty, happiness, success, etc.

There is untold emotional damage these games inflict on impressionable minds of boys and girls, and colour their outlook as they grow into adults. 


There is so much talk about the need for good mental health and well-being. But little is done to check the proliferation of these types of games. 

The only way is to have some sort of parental control. Limit, regulate, supervise children's interactions with games. 

It may not be possible to keep mobile phones away from children, or deny them access to the internet. 

But there is an inbuilt 'parental control' function. All major cyber security products have it. Play stores have it. Make use of it. 

Parents themselves have to be good role models for their children. They need to be careful when they make comments about situations or other people. 

It shouldn't look like they are reinforcing certain stereotypes or they are setting expectations or standards regarding beauty / happiness / success.

There should be a healthy environment at home that will make children feel emotionally secure and comfortable, so that they trust parents more than what they see / hear on the internet or the phone.

I know it is not easy. But parents have to take this important step, for the sake their children and other children.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Post-book blues

The other day I found my friend a bit lost and sort of disoriented. He looked ponderous, and his gaze seemed to be fixed at some faraway object.

I asked him, "What happened? All okay?"

With a smile that conveyed that all is well, he said, "I just finished reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins."

I too have read that psychological thriller by the popular British author, who is one of my favourite writers. 

I quickly realised that my friend was going through what's called post-book blues also called book hangover. 

It's a strange feeling that we get when we have completed reading a book, or nowadays after listening to an audiobook.

When I am immersed in a book for many days (I am a slow reader), I get virtually transported to a different world, in the midst of the characters of the story. The book becomes a lot more engaging and unputdownable towards the end.

Finally, when the last page and the back cover have been turned, there is this inevitable feeling of emptiness and loss, that combines with thoughts of various characters and scenes in the book.

It's all the more intense if the book has gripping plots and subplots that wind through many twists and turns.

If the end is tragic, I get a lump in my throat and my eyes well up.

Of course, it's a temporary phase that passes when I get drawn into my daily routine.

There is a similar feeling that comes over after I watch a movie too. It's much more in a movie theatre than at home in front of a television.  

However, there is a difference - films are at the most three hours long, but the association with a book is much longer.

How about you? Do you feel depressed after reading a book, or watching a film?

(Image by Kranich17 from Pixabay)