Does Your Child Have Gaming Addiction?
By Randi Morse
As someone who plays video games I'll be the first to tell you that they can be extremely fun. There is no better way for me to relax than to grab a controller and start taking down cowboys online. When my family plays a video game together we laugh and connect in ways that we don't often do, so believe me when I say that I am a huge fan of video games. That being said, I recognize that video gaming can become an addiction.
The World Health Organization (WHO) added gaming disorder to their International Classification of Diseases (ICD). This includes digital and video gaming and they characterize it as "impaired control over gaming, increased priority given to gaming over other interests and priorities, and continued or escalated gaming despite negative consequences from the behavior."
Your Child and Gaming Addiction
When I was growing up the only people who played video games were called "nerds," but now just about everyone plays video games. From cheerleaders and football captains to valedictorians, video gaming has gone mainstream. If it's so commonplace, how do you know for sure if your child has gaming addiction? The best way to determine if your child needs help for video game addiction is to ask yourself a few questions, like:
- Is my child unable to go to school or finish their homework?
- Does my child have problems with their relationships with family and friends?
- Does my child focus on gaming first and foremost?
- Is my child showing a change in mood when they game versus when they don't game?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, it's possible that your child is dealing with gaming addiction.
Treating Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction is not yet recognized by the American Psychological Association, and because of this there are not many treatment facilities equipped to handle the problem. If you think your child is dealing with video game addiction, speak with their doctor or pediatrician and have a formal evaluation completed. This may include getting an evaluation from a licensed mental health practitioner. If medical professionals believe that your child does have video game addiction, they may connect you with an addiction counselor, or a family therapist, as a way to help your child and your family.
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