Offer Alternatives To Video Games
Once youve reduced the time your child spends playing video games, find other ways for him to occupy his time no small feat when schools out.
Search out an activity he can feel successful at, one that taps into his strengths and talents. If team sports are difficult, look into a sport that emphasizes individual performance, such as swimming, martial arts, golf, bowling, or gymnastics.
Or look into non-competitive group activities offered in your area, such as an arts-and-crafts class, a summer drama troupe, or a nature club. And remember that few children enjoy anything more than a one-on-one summer outing with mom or dad.
Dopamine Surge Vs Inattention Symptoms
Sometimes, our inattention to details and inability to maintain focus can be affected by our interests. Come to think of it, there are moments when we have difficulty sustaining our energy and eagerness on some activities because we aren’t interested in doing them. Like, in school, we might daydream because the lesson is âboringð¥±.â Another example is when we find something else to get busy with because a person is talking about uninteresting topics for a long time already. We tend to escape these instances because we aren’t that much into them and prefer to do another, more interesting activity. One example of that activity? Playing video games on our phoneð±.
Do you know what we get when we do something that interests us? Dopamine, one of the feel-good hormones. Research shows that ADHD is associated with low dopamine levels. The thing is, when we do something thatâs pleasurable, our dopamine levels increase. This surge feels good, so weâre bound to do pleasurable activities more. Hence, one can say that it is the âreward systemâ that helps us focus on the task. When we are interested in something, like playing video games, our attention directs toward them partly because of the dopamine surge we experience.
Dopamine is likewise a brain chemical responsible for our focus, energy, and drive. So, the more normal our dopamine levels are, the better we might be able to focus and stay motivated.
Why Are Video Games A Concern
Video games have been under investigation in their role in ADHD due to our modern, digital lifestyles.
Because of its status as a relatively new condition and its prevalence amongst young people, many people, especially parents, have questioned whether the frequent use of electronics is to blame for ADHD.
It is estimated that on average, kids spend upwards of 3 hours per day in front of screens playing video games and browsing the Internet, and many parents find it difficult to remove them from it.
Offline gaming specifically has been questioned because it does not facilitate communication skills compared to online games, where players can group up, chat with friends, and work as a team.
Despite this, even online games can be problematic in certain individuals and can be very addictive. This also applies to general Internet use as well, and Internet addiction has been described as a genuine health concern.
While the time spent on gaming is a significant issue, it is believed that too much use of it can make ADHD symptoms worse. Certain traits have been associated with excess gaming and Internet use, which will be discussed next.
Recommended Reading: National Alcohol And Drug Addiction Recovery Month
Benefits Of Video Games
For children with ADHD, online games can be more than just recreation. The games can help them build important skills. These include:
- Visual-spatial skills
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Time management
If your child plays, help make sure the games are right for their age. Some games meant for older kids or adults can be too violent or have sexual content. Rating categories range from E to AO .
Good choices might include games that require finding material to build virtual shelters or carts and other contraptions to carry characters to their destinations. Children can hone their organization planning, sharpen their working memory, and pick up other valuable skills they may lack.
In 2020, the FDA approved the first prescription digital game as therapy for ADHD. EndeavorRx is for youths aged 8-12. Itâs mainly for those who have the inattentive or inattentive-hyperactive type of the disorder. Itâs meant to be used as part of treatment that may include medication and behavioral therapy.
EndeavorRx sends players zooming through different landscapes, including a lava river and an icy winter wonderland. Kids tap the screen to pick up targets along the way. One study funded by EndeavorRxâs maker showed the game helped improve attention.
What Gamers Are Missing
That isnt to say that kids spending an unlimited amount of time playing these games isnt harmful, but its a different kind of harm. The problem is that all that screen time means time not spent doing other things more valuable for their development, including interacting with family and friends.
Since social skills are a challenge for many kids with ADHD, who have trouble paying attention and reining in their impulsivity, the cost can be high. Its not healthy socially to spend a lot of time by yourself playing games in lieu of doing something with people, says Dr. Steingard. But he adds that thats a global concern not just for kids with ADHD. No kid should spend unlimited time sitting in front of a screen in lieu of playing with other kids.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an hour per day of total media screen time for elementary school children, and two hours for kids in secondary school. American children, Gentile says, currently average more than six hours of screen time per day.
You May Like: What Is The Best Non Addictive Sleep Aid
What Can You Do
As your child grows, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work as well. Not all kids are the same when it comes to screens and technology. Some children can self-regulate and might even put the screens down to go outside without you prompting them. Other kids become noticeably more anxious and quicker to lose their tempers when they spend a lot of time on screens. You’ll need to decide how much media to let your child use each day and what’s appropriate.
Consider applying the same rules to your child’s real and virtual environments. In both, play with your child, teach kindness, be involved, and know who your child’s friends and what your child does with them. Also, keep in mind that the quality of the media your child is exposed to is more important than the type of technology or amount of time spent. Encourage active screen time over passive screen time.
Active screen time is when you are interacting with other people that you know or when you are cognitively or physically engaged. For example, play educational games, or games that require players to build something together. Other options are fitness-type games that require movement while playing. Passive screen time includes watching screens with minimal cognitive engagement, such as scrolling through social media, watching online videos or playing simple games.
Set reasonable limits for your child’s screen time and video game types, especially if your child’s use of screens hinders involvement in other activities.
Criteria To Identify Video Game Addiction
The study identified gaming experiences over the past 6 months were scored on a scale from never to very often. The statements included:
You think about playing a game all day long You spend increasing amounts of time on games You play games to forget about real life Others have unsuccessfully tried to reduce your game use You feel bad when you are unable to play You have fights with others over your time spent on games You neglect other important activities to play games
Scoring high on at least 4 of the 7 items suggested an addiction to video gaming associated with impaired health, work, school and/or social relations.
Also Check: Is Addiction Treatment Covered By Insurance
Get Creative And Establish Rules
Video games arent the only way to entertain kids. Board games, card games, and even lawn games are just as effective and give them the feedback they crave. If they still want to play video games, set a limit on how much game time they get each day. Enroll them in other activities that are just as stimulating. After-school sports, martial arts, social clubs, and special interest groups will help them burn off energy while establishing friendships. The only limit is your imagination.
Schedule an AppointmentNot sure how to best help your child? Schedule an appointment with us today for ADHD services. Our experienced Denver-based team will work with you to help create a plan to help your child succeed and thrive even with ADHD.
Donât Miss: Can You Join The Police With Autism
What Were The Basic Results
There was no difference between the three groups of boys in age, ethnicity or number of siblings. The ASD group had higher scores on the SCQ than the two other groups, as would be expected.
The ADHD group had higher ADHD symptom scores than the normal group, but not the ASD group .
Following adjustment for household income and marital status, boys with ASD spent significantly more time playing video games than boys with normal development . However, boys with ADHD did not differ significantly from either boys with normal development or boys with ASD.
Both the ASD and ADHD groups had greater in-room video game access than boys with normal development, and did not differ significantly from each other.
Both the ASD and ADHD groups also had higher problematic video game use scores than boys with normal development, and did not differ significantly from each other. In both the ASD and ADHD groups, the presence of a higher number of inattentive symptoms was associated with higher problematic game use scores.
Don’t Miss: Addiction Recovery Services Portsmouth Nh
Adhd Associated With Video Game Addiction
Do you know the 7 criteria that can help identify those at risk for unhealthy online gaming?
Video game addiction appears to be associated with ADHD and other psychiatric disorders, according to a large Norwegian study.1 Excessively engaging in gaming may function as an escape mechanism for, or coping with, underlying psychiatric disorders in attempt to alleviate unpleasant feelings, and to calm restless bodies, said lead author Cecilie Schou Andreassen, PsyD, at the University of Bergen in Norway.
Research into addictive technological behaviors has demonstrated strong associations between addictive use of technology and comorbid psychiatric disorders. Schou Andreassen and colleagues1 conducted an online cross-sectional survey of 23,533 adults . They examined whether demographic variables and symptoms of ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression could explain compulsive and excessive use of social media and video games.
The researchers found positive, significant correlations between symptoms of addictive technology use and mental disorder symptoms. Age appeared to be inversely related to the addictive use of these technologies. The study implies that younger people with some of these characteristics could be targeted to help prevent development of an unhealthy gaming pattern, said Schou Andreassen.
Why Can My Child Still Focus On A Video Game
However, the child or adolescent can be stuck in a slow brain wave pattern and still remain focused on a video game for 3 hours.
This is because video games are so stimulating that it holds their attention even with the frontal lobe underactivated or dysregulated. Again, one’s brain does not have to be fully powered or activated to stay focused on activities that are stimulating such as video games, their favorite TV shows, or even legos.
Non-preferred tasks such as most academic tasks are not exceptionally stimulating, so the brain needs to be fully powered or activated for the non-preferred academic tasks. This is why there can be such a problematic difference with ADD or ADHD kids between how effectively they can focus on non-preferred, non-stimulating tasks such as homework compared to preferred tasks such as stimulating video games, computer games or TV.The resulting problem is that video games can reinforce the brain being in an underactivated or underpowered state while they are avoiding important tasks for their development and success. The brain is defaulting to what is a lower requirement for brain functioning to play a video or computer game.
Read Also: Addiction Rehab Centers Indianapolis In
Adhd Autism Video Game Addiction
Tools For Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
ADHD Autism and Video Game Addiction- do you think having one of these conditions makes a person more vulnerable to video game addiction? See the lists of resources below.
Safe Websites for Brainy ADHD, Aspergers, or PDD-NOS Gifted KidsGoogle earth- www.earth.google.comview maps, satellite photos, galaxies, canyons in the oceansBBC Human Body and Mind- www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbodyBuild a skeleton, arrange organs, take psychological tests to learn about your memory and personalityExtra for Students- www.pbs.org/newshour/extraBrowse current world events, see what other students are saying about them, click on student voices to submit your own opinionsOlgas Gallery- www.abcgallery.comHigh quality photos of important works of art and info about the artists- on of the largest collections of art on the internetNational Geographic Kids- www.kids.nationalgeographic.comGames, photos, stories, videos, contests, facts about people, animals, placesMake Beliefs Comix- www.makebeliefscomix.comMake your own comics, fill in the text bubbles and print or emailKids on the Net- www.kidsonthenet.comKids publish their poems, stories, reports, book reviews, opinions. Join in writing projects like Adventure Island, Kids Castle, Monster Motel, Dragonsville
Internet safety- Digital Behavior Management
How can you monitor and manage your childrens use of the internet?
1:10 Media and technology statistics
2:23 Lifestyle changes
5:57 What is going on?
How Can Gaming Become An Addiction
An addiction is defined as a person’s inability to control use of a substance or behavior, despite negative consequences. Some people who are engrossed in screen time or video games while ignoring other normal activities could be close to meeting this definition.
So why does this happen? The reward center in the brain releases dopamine in response to a pleasurable experience or hyperarousal. If a person experiences hyperarousal while playing video games, the brain associates the activity with dopamine. The person develops a strong drive to seek out that same pleasure again and again.
Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter in the brain. It helps sustain people’s interest and attention, which is why it can hard for people to tear themselves away from a situation or behavior. It’s also self-reinforcing. The more times people experience the behavior, the more dopamine is released, and the more driven they are to return to the behavior.
You May Like: How To Stop Your Sugar Addiction
How The Drake Institute Can Help
At the Drake Institute, we believe that improving or resolving ADD and ADHD symptoms is a process that can frequently be helped without the use of medication. In order to provide patients with the long-term results that they deserve, we must first tackle the root of the problem: the brains dysregulation.
For three decades, the Drake Institute has been utilizing advanced qEEG brain mapping technologies with neurofeedback to successfully treat patients suffering from ADD and ADHD. The individualized, brain map-guided neurofeedback protocols at the Drake Institute are developed to enable the brain to get unstuck and develop to improved functioning, whether the task is interesting or not.
Many tasks we have to complete in life are not always stimulating, but we have to complete them anyway to succeed. ADD kids are disadvantaged in that they have trouble doing this normally, but our treatment process helps their brain become much more empowered to succeed.
Our treatment plans provide children with a process to enhance their ability to self-regulate and self-motivate to focus effectively on non-preferred tasks. This means that we can help children both improve or overcome the negative symptoms associated with ADD and video game addictions and live healthier, more fulfilled lives.
The Link Between Adhd And Video Game Addiction
Nearly 10% of children in the United States have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder . That equates to approximately 6 million kids. Another 8.5% of children are addicted to video games. When you take a closer look at the symptoms of ADHD and what video games offer, you can see why video game addiction is common among children with this mental disorder.
In this article, well take a closer look at what ADHD is, its common symptoms, and the relationship it shares with video game addiction.
Don’t Miss: How Do People Get Addicted To Drugs
Tips For Managing Your Childs Screen Time
Whether or not your child has ADHD, actively working to manage their screen time has benefits for them, and for you. A few tips to help you set a screen time plan for your family:
1. Decide how much screen time you want your child to have daily, outside of school-related and educational screen time.
2. Have a family conversation in which you give your child an opportunity to tell you how much screen time they would like to have. It is important for your child to feel like they are a part of the conversation.
3. Decide on a baseline amount of screen time per week, and a bonus amount of screen time per week. The idea is that your child will get the baseline screen time each week no matter what, and can earn bonus screen time if they complete important tasks and responsibilities, like chores and homework.
Enforce The Rules Of Video Game Play
At first, you may have to lock up the game or otherwise make sure that the game and its controls are physically unavailable when gaming is off-limits. When hes allowed to play, you can hand them over and remind him, Youve got 30 minutes.
When playtime begins, set a timer a visible timer, such as the TimeTimer , may be especially effective. Then, step in with periodic warnings: You have 15 minutes left,Ten minutes to go. When times almost up, announce, You can play for five more minutes. Then it will be time to save your game. Ill give you a few more minutes while I wait here.
If your child does well with the time limit for several days in a row, consider tracking his progress and awarding a few extra minutes at weeks end. Emphasize that, as he demonstrates greater responsibility, hell earn greater privileges.
If, on the other hand, your child continues to play, despite your step-by-step warnings, do not shout or disconnect the power or get into a wrestling match to take back the equipment. Such approaches will only escalate anger. Instead, calmly remind him of the rules.
Then announce that, for each minute he continues to play, one minute will be subtracted from the time allowed the next day. If you check on him after lights out and find him playing the game under the covers, he might lose the privilege for several days.
Don’t Miss: How Can You Help An Addict