Is your ten-year-old having a meltdown because you won’t allow him to play a game on your cell phone? Does he throw a fit as soon as he stops playing video games? Does he spend more time on the computer rather than hanging out with his friends outside? If you answered yes to these questions then there is a high chance your child is suffering from video game addiction.
Modern video games are more realistic and advanced. Some of them have negative themes, such as violence and misogyny, which is likely to have adverse effects on a young mind.
Video game addiction can hamper a child’s mental health and creativity and ultimately their social development. Violent games cause children to act aggressively. In the long run, it can cause social isolation and loneliness in children.
Gaming addiction can be a hard habit to kick for young adults. It is, nonetheless, possible for parents to prevent their young children from becoming video gaming addicts by taking a few basic steps, including:
If your child is spending too much time playing games, you need to set time limits. Your child may not like your decision, but you have to be tough and stick to your decision. Decide in advance how many hours and days you want him or her to spend playing games. Most importantly, dedicate one day to video gaming or technology detox.
Engage your child in alternative activities, such as reading or drawing. Take some time out and encourage them to do something creative or mentally stimulating. Have them help you with the house chores, such as setting the table for dinner or folding the laundry. Such activities, in other words, will also give you the opportunity to spend quality time with them.
Encourage them to go outside and play with their friends. Often, video games can be an escape for children who find it hard to interact with people. It is the parents’ responsibility to find ways to develop their child’s social skills from a young age.
Make your child earn the privilege to play a video game. For example, you can allow your child to play for an hour if he or she reads a book or does a house chore. This will develop children’s time-management skills and help them prioritize activities. Moreover, they will recognize that they do not have a God given right to a video game. Instead, it is a privilege that should not be taken for granted.
The best way to prevent a child from getting addicted to video gaming is to talk to him directly. Explain to your child the negative consequences of addiction. Have an open communication with them so that they don’t fear sharing their concerns with you.
From time to time, monitor your child’s gaming hours and the type of games they play. Similarly, do not keep a personal computer in your children’s room. It should always be in a public space for you to monitor their activities.
Follow these simple tips and you will be steering your children in the right direction.
For more information about video game addiction, speak to an expert at STAR Guides Wilderness. Click here to log on to their website.
Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.