Understand The Appeal Of Video Games For Children
Video games hold special attractions for children with ADHD. A child whos bothered by distractibility in the real world may be capable of intense focus, or hyperfocus, while playing. Nor is hyperactivity a problem; a child can hold the controllers and stand or pace back and forth in front of the TV as he plays.
For children who struggle with making friends, or lack the skills to play team sports, these games entertain and level the playing field. Computer games are emotionally safe. When a child strikes out in a baseball game, hes doing it in front of a crowd of peers. But when he makes a mistake while playing a video game, no one else has to know.
Video-game errors arent circled in red ink by teachers, either. In fact, making mistakes helps the player improve. By trial and error, he learns the specific action needed to advance the next time. There is satisfaction in steadily improving and, ultimately, winning, with no chance of failing or being teased.
Is Gaming Addiction A Recognised Diagnosis
Gaming addiction was classified as a medical disorder;in June 2018, meaning kids hooked on games such as Fortnite will now be able to access treatment on the NHS.
The World Health Organisation told governments around the world they would be expected to incorporate “gaming disorder” into their health systems, after increasing evidence the addiction caused sufferers and their families severe psychological distress.
Earlier this year WHO announced the move to list it as a mental health condition, describing it as;a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour so severe that it takes “precedence over other life interests”.
The Nightingale Hospital, which founded the UK’s first internet rehab service for kids as young as 12, lists the following “warning signs of technology addiction”:
- You spend increasing amounts of time on the computer and internet.
- You fail to limit your time spent on the computer or internet.
- You neglect family, friends and other responsibilities.
- You get angry when others criticise the amount of time you spend online.
- You withdraw from other pleasurable activities.
- Your online use interferes with studying or work.
- You are restless and anxious when not online.
- You will forgo necessary sleep to stay online.
Mistake #: Allowing Just One More Level
When asked to shut off the video-game system, most children rarely obey without first trying to prolong their play. Invariably they respond with a plea for just one more level or more time to defeat the current villain. As a result, many parents end up allowing their child to spend much more time playing video games than they intended.
As one recovering video-game addict said, “If you say you intend to restrict the amount of time a child spends, you better ask yourself whether you can really do it. Kids are very good at pushing and pushing for more time.”
Don’t Miss: How To Help An Addict Without Enabling
Decide What You Can Live With
Take a couple of days to study your own behavior.
Do you start slamming cabinet doors when your kid has been using a screen for more than a half hour? Do you begin to pace the halls after forty-five minutes? Look for signs of edginess, like mindless snacking.
In our house, screen time means total silence, which I loveI get things done! But after an hour, it starts feeling creepy, similar to what I feel on a gorgeous Sunday when I hear the sound of a golf tournament coming from our living room. I start imagining fat cells expanding. People on the couch begin to resemble potatoes.
If I demand an immediate cease and desist, things go downhill quickly. The kids pounce on each other. Its as if all that stillness incubates an explosion of physicality. They have poor attitudes, back talking about dinner, negotiating everything, even what to have for snack.
This was good information. I extended screen time by a half hour and I gave fair warning. Ninety minutes. Thats what we can live with.
Soon, this developed into house policy: they get screens on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for ninety minutes. Nothing during the week, because its too hard for them to go into that still, focused game mode and still keep up with the work/school routine.
Three more tips for developing your house policy:
- Both parents should be involved. If Mom is the only one who ever says Times up, shes going to be very unpopular very fast.
Playing Those Games Make Kids So Happy Heres Why
Video games trigger the release of dopamine, the feel-good chemical that humans love. People know the bright lights and exciting sounds in a Vegas casino were created specifically to keep us playing. Why? Dopamine.
Its our dopamine that produces those feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, and human beings will do just about anything to get that feeling.
Read Also: How To Overcome Food Addiction
Relationship Signs Of Video Game Addiction
Is My Child Addicted To Video Games
Video games are an emotional outlet for many kids. Through their video games they can develop a sense of comradery unlike any other place in their life.
When a child has any level of difficulty making friends in the real world , then these relationships can be remarkably satisfying. Further, if the parents themselves are busy and not fully present to meet the emotional needs of their kids, then these online connections can become more attractive.
– Article Continued Below –
To Our Newsletter
Because video games are not a substance the child ingests, some folks argue as to whether or not they can be truly addictive. Others though look to brain science and concern themselves with the pleasure centres of the brain and how neurotransmitters such as dopamine, known to create good feelings, can be the cause of a video game addiction.
Without getting into the science of addition though, one need only ask the questions, can my child limit or curtail their video game use? Does setting limits on use give rise to oppositional or negotiating behaviour? Does seeking to set limits create anger and hostility as well as an escalation of challenging behaviour?
If you see untoward behaviour as a result of limiting video game use, then in a sense, it can be addictive.
As with any addition, negotiating an amount of play may be like trying to negotiate the cocaine users use of that substance. To add, in this context, no amount of cocaine and likely no amount of video game use may be healthy.
Don’t Miss: How Does Rehab Help Drug Addicts
Physical Signs Of Video Game Addiction
Preventing A Gaming Problem
To keep the amount of time spent gaming under control, try these tips for adults and kids alike:
No one knows whether certain kinds of games are more likely to lead to problem gaming. For the time being, make sure that your child is only playing games rated for their age.
Recommended Reading: How To Kick Alcohol Addiction
So What Should You Expect From Professional Treatment
The are two common forms of treatment: one focuses on understanding the gamers situation; the other focuses on learning new behaviours.
Treatment often includes therapy sessions with an addiction counsellor. The sessions may take the form of individual sessions, group sessions and/or family sessions. Each session dynamic has a different focus. For example, family therapy sessions focus on exploring and addressing issues in the patients family that may contribute to the addiction.
The second common treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy . This often takes place in addition to counselling sessions. CBT is based on the premise that thoughts determine feelings and it is used to treat many psychiatric disorders, such as substance use disorders, depression and anxiety. CBT teaches the gamer different ways to think, behave, and respond to stressful situations.
Other medical treatments proving to have some success include art therapy and exercise therapy.
Research on suitable medication is also continuing.
Treatment plans are designed according to the needs of the individual. It may involve a series of CBT sessions, for example, plus individual therapy sessions, plus family therapy sessions. Treatment is tailored to the age of the person, their faith, their professional status or other factor important to their treatment.
At this stage, no treatment can claim a 100% success rate and this is reflective of the need for more research.
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 Many Americans Suffer From Addiction
How Can You Tell If Your Child Is Addicted
A teen developing an interest in gaming is not cause for alarm, as studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. But parents should be vigilant for signs that gaming is becoming a compulsion.
Gaming can be a very positive experience but like most things when it comes to the online world its a matter of proportion, explains Internet Matters ambassador and psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos. The problem arises when children and teenagers start to neglect other areas of their lives in order to play online games, or when the only way they can relax is by playing games – as over time a child may start to turn to video games as a way of coping with difficult life issues.
Is My Child Addicted To Video Games Every 9th Teen Has Addiction Problems
Every parent wants his child to be safe and happy, but the dangers surrounding us in our daily lives don’t go away and sometimes come from the most unexpected sources video games. The problem with noticing the symptoms of gaming addiction is that this addiction may not seem like a real issue to a lot of people, because addictions are generally associated with consumption of substances, like drugs or alcohol. Regardless of how we refer to this phenomenon when a person replaces real life experiences with a virtual reality and experiences serious withdrawal when not playing a game, we’re talking about addictive behavior. Gaming addiction is quite a recent problem in the world where the availability of entertainment is no longer a problem and is always just a few clicks away.
The addiction to video games has been mentioned in the section of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders edition as a condition requiring further clinical research. The fact that this problem has already been included in this manual says a lot about the severity of this issue.
Recommended Reading: How To Help An Addict In Denial
Signs That Your Child Is Addicted To Video Games And How To Curb It
Beachwood clinical psychologist shares warning signs and approaches to kicking the habit
CLEVELAND, OH – Does your child spend hours playing Fortnite? Do they obsess over Minecraft? Do you worry that this hobby is more like an addiction?
Dr. Jay Berk, a Beachwood clinical psychologist — who specializes in electronic gaming addiction and treatment — said its smart to be concerned, and smart to get ahead of a much bigger problem, if a childs habit is morphing into an addiction.
Here are nine signs your child is addicted to video games:
1. The child has an explosive, extreme reaction to having games taken away.
2. They are losing friends.
3. They stop participating in sports.
4. They no longer participate in things they used to like.
5. Content of games shifts to inappropriate subject matter, like anime pornography.
6. The child is stealing money to gain advantages in games.
7. Grades are dropping in school.
8. The child is falling asleep in class.
9. They continue to game, even increasing their hours, despite negative consequences.
To start addressing the problem, take away all games and phones at night, said Berk. And be sure to know the pass codes, and passwords for all their accounts.
Weve had kids violently attack their parents over video games. That would be in the extreme, of course, but I think mood swings, ripping up the place, things like that. So I think parents need to be prepared for that, said Berk.
But Berk warns, dont react in an extreme way yourself.
What Families Should Know About Video Game Addiction
- Video game addiction can negatively impact the family dynamic. Gaming can cause problems in the parent-child, sibling, and marital relationship.;Tweet This
- Families would do well to understand the major symptoms around pathological video game use and intervene where appropriate when a significant problem arises.Tweet This
- There are nine main criteria that families should consider when deciding whether a child or spouse has a true problem with video games.Tweet This
Bridger* grew up playing video games. He loved the way that they made him feel. Bridger also grew up with an abusive father in a highly dysfunctional family, and video games were his oasis, the place he would turn whenever things got intense at home or he needed to cope with his feelings. Video games started as a harmless diversion, but Bridger found himself feeling compelled to play for longer periods of time. As he began thinking more about the games and became fixated on the next time he could play, he also grew disinterested in other activities he previously enjoyed. His parents didnt like all the time he was spending on video games, and they had heated arguments over his gaming. Eventually, he started sneaking video game time and even stole money from his mothers purse to buy a game.
The Family Dynamic
*name changed for privacy
4. American Psychiatric Association,;Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. .
Also Check: Can You Get Addicted To Vyvanse
Accept That Gaming Is Fun For Your Child Even If Its Not Fun For You
Those of us who did not grow up with ipads, ipods, and multitudes of devices wonder why anyone would want to spend his down time in a two-dimensional world with no real plot?
Well, not a lot of us want to play tag for more than ten minutes, either.
Minecraft offers yet another opportunity to separate your experience from that of your child.
It isnt your fault. The love of games did not come from your failure to expose them to sports or to read to them.;They like what they like.
As long its not dangerous or illegal, its all alright. End of story.
Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive in Their Digital World
This packed masterclass is one of the 60+ masterclasses you get when you join the AFineParent Academy.
Tips To Manage Your Childs Gaming
While most gamers will not be diagnosed with gaming disorder, a childs gaming habits can cause significant distress for parents. They may be concerned their child is spending too much time on video games, that they resist every time they are asked to get off, or that gaming is leading to an unhealthy or unbalanced lifestyle.
Here are some tips for supporting more healthy approaches to gaming for children include:
encourage sport and physical activity. This can increase blood levels of serotonin and have a positive effect on mood and symptoms of problematic gaming
talk to your child about what they enjoy about gaming and why they want to game regularly. Their answer will help you identify if there are others issues they may be experiencing and using gaming as an escape
when you call your child off their game, ensure they have an activity to shift to, such as a family outing or dinner. This will create a reason to get off
when calling your child off a game, give them time to finish the game. Continuously being asked to get off mid-game can be frustrating and lead to arguments. Ask them how much longer they will need to finish the game and then ensure they get off when the game is over.
With video games such a significant aspect of young peoples lives, its important to guide healthy, balanced approaches as young as possible.
Recommended Reading: What Makes You An Addict