The incident at River Valley High School is the saddest news of the year. As I read the comments on social media, I wonder why many people blame it on (a) the education system and (b) on video games?

Is it the education system, or the society as a whole?

First, I think given the student-teacher ratio in schools, expecting the school to monitor every move of a student is not practical. Parents have to be more in tune with their kid’s behaviour, and look out for signs of child depression. It is probably more important than ever to launch a nation-wide campaign to educate parents.

I think as a nation we need some changes – which includes making it possible for parents to spend more quality time with their children, and adjusting education schedules accordingly, and also to get rid of the kiasu parent syndrome which may put undue stress on children.

The work-education dynamics have changed in the last 2 decades, especially as both parents tend to be working full-time. During the younger ages of a child, parents are also building their careers in their early 30s and can often spend long hours at work. This takes away time they have for their children and the child basically spends all day in school or classes.

It is time to rethink how we tackle this on a national level. I do not pretend to be an education or economics expert, but I think some things could be done in this area.

Video games might be a social outlet

Why blame video games? As if movies, YouTube, TikTok didn’t have such (bad) influence as well? I don’t think video games are entirely bad – given the way kids are these days, games may be one of the only few social outlets – not many people go out and play basketball, soccer or ride bicycle around town these days after school. Apart from games, kids are stuck in enrichment, tuition and CCA.

Granted CCAs are supposed to be a good social outlet, it has also reduced drastically due to COVID-19. Parents who completely isolate their kids from games may be causing them social isolation as well.

Parental control

The need for parental control hasn’t changed – in the 90s, we are advised not to watch violent movies. So what about games? It’s just different shit, same smell.

May the soul of the poor boy rest in peace.