Is Your Child Addicted to Video Games?
By Randi Morse
Video games are extremely commonplace now. It used to be that the only time you could have access to these types of games was to go to an arcade. Now you simply have to start your cell phone and jump on the apps store to download any game and play it at any time. Parents often use these games to help keep their children entertained while they are busy, and while this is fine for short amounts of time, utilizing video games as a babysitter can cause serious problems.
Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction is becoming a more serious problem as the accessibility to video games becomes easier. Psychologists are even considering adding video game addiction to the DSM-V, the manual psychologists use to diagnose mental health conditions. It can be difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms of video game addiction; parents often believe that their children are just having a good time. Some of the common signs of video game addiction include:
- Not wanting to engage with family and friends
- Becoming upset when access to games is denied
- Talking about their gaming constantly
- Sacrificing basic needs (sleep, eating) to game
- Hide the amount of time that they are gaming
Talking to Your Child
If you believe your child has a problem playing video games, it's best to sit them down and have a conversation with them, especially if they are old enough to understand and engage in the discussion. Set up a time and location where you can have the discussion without being interrupted. Try to avoid approaching your child with anger. If you approach them with anger, you're going to put them in a defensive mood, which doesn't help to facilitate healthy discussion. Show them how concerned you are, that you're worried that they are playing video games more than they should be. Ask if they would be willing to set healthy video game playing limits, such as only playing a certain amount of time each day.
If your child gets angry at the idea of limitations, or sneaks around the limits to play, you may want to seek the help of a qualified professional. Many child psychologists and child therapists are learning how to help children dealing with video game addiction, simply because it is becoming much more commonplace. It's important to help your child develop healthy habits when it comes to video game playing. As with most things, moderation is key. Set limits and stick to them so that your child can enjoy playing video games without allowing them to take over their lives.
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