Video games help people to have fun and escape reality. They are a great source of entertainment that lets you do something that you cannot do in real life. Through video gaming it is easy to bond with friends, forget about daily routine and make new acquaintances. However, not everything is so perfect. When involved too much, gaming may result in insomnia, anxiety, aggression, and depression.
Gaming addictions can affect self-esteem and social development of children and adolescents, leading them to have more difficult lives due to their inability to communicate and function properly.
As a parent, it is you who should be responsible for how your children spend their time. It is essential to set very clear limits on the use of video games. Observe the emotional changes in your kids. Notice if they are irritated, anxious, or even scared when playing.
Do not scold or intimidate them. Instead, try to guide them. It is not about taking away these types of activities but accompanying your kids in their use. Taking away can only be implemented in serious cases when your child does not obey your recommendations.
Video gaming can be a risk for everyone, especially children. Even if adults cannot resist the addiction, what is left for kids?
In this article, you will learn important information that will help you to identify if your child has a gaming addiction and what to do if it is the case.
What are the warning signs and potential consequences of gaming addiction?
- Significant time spent (usually more than 3 hours) of play per day, which interferes with other activities.
- Reduction in social relations in real life.
- Increased isolation.
- Negative consequences on sleep, nutrition, and school work.
- Psychological suffering linked to video games. For example, aggressiveness when an adolescent is asked to stop playing.
Among the effects you can observe the following: excessive gambling creates constant stimulation and disrupts the reward system. Teenagers thus become less resistant to boredom and are likely to develop mood disorders, anxiety, depression, and aggression.
What can you do as a parent?
Recreational activities with parents are the best pastime to train kids and increase their self-esteem. In consultation, children and adolescents report that the most interesting activities are the simplest ones, such as going out with their parents, eating together, or cooking.
Maintain constant and open communication, listen to your child, and allow them to feel heard and important to you. What if they are addicted to video gaming because they do not receive enough attention and interaction from their parents and close relatives?
Get involved in your children’s activities. Know what their favorite activities are, and, above all, be aware of the types of things they do in their free time.
If video gaming is becoming too excessive, you will need to work with specialists. To start, go through different forums and ask other people how they managed to get their kids out of gaming addiction. If you decide to discuss it with someone in person, research information about people you are about to meet on Nuwber, Pipl, or other websites you trust. You never know who you are dealing with. Being cautious is especially essential in the 21st century.
Arguing with your children about playing video games is not the right way. Be a responsible parent. Do not make your kid feel negativity coming from you. Not only do they have difficulty controlling the time they spend on this hobby, but it often leads to tantrums and irritability. Sometimes they can even respond aggressively. Dedicate time to other activities and make it a daily routine in your home.
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation has compiled a series of worrying data, such as that young people spend about 7 and a half hours on audiovisual entertainment (TV, computer, and video games). It is a worrying statistic that must make people think.
There is a also relationship between playing video games and the development of violent behavior. Likewise, the study states that children who spend more than 2 hours a day playing video games have 67% more chances of developing attention problems than those who do not play.
Learn these useful strategies to limit the time your children spend on video gaming:
1. Let them play for a week and write down the hours they spend playing. At the end of the week sit down together and let your child know simply and directly how many hours they spent on video gaming. Explain that you could have dedicated more time to another activity instead.
2. Establish a schedule and rules. Always repeat them before your kid starts playing. For example, agree that your child can play for 30 minutes every day as long as their homework is done.
3. Make them understand what will happen if they do not obey your rules. If a kid does not listen, give them a warning and explain what will happen if they continue ignoring you. For instance, if they refuse to turn off the PlayStation, say, “If it is not turned off in 30 seconds, you will lose your privilege to play tomorrow.”
4. Propose alternatives. Take your son or daughter and their friends for outdoor activities. It is an option that will let you spend more time with your child and make you understand how they communicate with their peers. Bring snacks, and discuss their hobbies. In general, make sure they are having fun and not thinking about gaming.
5. Tell your son or daughter to show their favorite video game and play with them. This way, you will learn more about their attitude when playing. Whether they are calm, competitive, or aggressive. It will help you to detect in time if your little one has a serious problem, such as not being able to distinguish between real life and fake reality.
6. Find out what your kid’s favorite video game is and tell them that if they play more than the agreed-upon time, you are going to take it away. You must indicate for how long they will be left without their toy, be it for a few minutes or an hour. This can work well with small children.
7. Pay attention to the game rating and content description. Do not buy or allow your child to play a game that is rated for older children or the content of which has been categorized as violent.