14-year-old Andy Sng would spend hours gaming on weekdays and weekends at LAN shops, using up his pocket money on new games as his parents were away at work.
Eventually, the excessive gaming took a toll on his academic performance as he found it increasingly difficult to concentrate in class. Spending most of his time locked up in his room, his relationship with his parents became cold and distant as he was preoccupied with his gaming activities. His parents were left feeling helpless and worried. As his behaviour deteriorated, his school counsellor referred his case to TOUCH Cyber Wellness (TCW) and encouraged his parents to seek help together with Andy.
When Andy first attended TCW’s counselling session, he was shy and barely made eye contact with his counsellor, Ms Cynthia Khoo. However, he gradually opened up as he continued to attend the Cyber Wellness Enrichment Programme (CWEP) comprising weekly study group and counselling sessions where he met other youths. CWEP helped Andy to discover more about himself and his gaming motivations. He also realised gaming was his way of coping and escaping from reality.
Ms Khoo advised Andy on the importance of diversifying his activities, motivating him to participate in other activities such as basketball and weightlifting. He still games but he has learnt to better manage his time. Andy’s social life improved gradually as he interacted with other youths. All these helped him regain his self-confidence and taught him how to set priorities in life. Andy also became a positive influence to his friends as he encouraged them to place more importance in their studies instead of gaming.
The journey of acceptance and self-discovery has made Andy a happier person. He chats with his parents more often now and enjoys sharing with them about his day’s activities. They are thrilled to see their son gain new aspirations in life and using his time productively. Moving forward, Andy hopes to become a volunteer to help mentor the younger ones – and help them discover their potential and show them that life is more than gaming.