Video Game Addiction: Is my child addicted?

Video Game Addiction

I often talk with parents who are concerned about video game addiction.  They tell me about the games their children play online, the amount of time spent, the disagreements, behavior change and struggles of navigating the new frontier of technology.  

Video Game Addiction:

Recent studies have raised concerns about the impact that online gaming has on adolescents.  Other studies have found links between social media use and adolescent depression.  In fact the world health organization (WHO) recently defined “gaming disorder”as an official disorder in the international classification of diseases (ICD-11). Gaming disorder is defined as “a pattern of gaming behavior characterized by impaired control over gaming increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences”. 

Author Jean Twengehas described “Igen”, the current generation of highly connected students, as the most unprepared for adulthood in history.  Understandably parents are concerned and want to know “how much is OK”?

Warning Signs:

I often advise parents to respond but not overreact.  The WHO indicates that only a small percentage of those engaged in gaming reach the level of being addicted.  I encourage parents to observe their child and assess if they are showing any of the signs of addiction.  

  1. Does your child’s participation in gaming take priority (for your child) over other important daily activities and has it continued to escalate despite negative consequences?
  2. Has your child’s level of gaming caused significant impairment in several of the following areas: Personal, Family, Social, Educational, Occupational, Other important area
  3. Has the impairment been present for at least 12 months.

Finding Balance:

If you are concerned that you child spends too much time playing video games and may become addicted or is missing out on other experiences, I recommend establishing a balance between other activities and video gaming.  I challenged parents to set reasonable limits on the amount of time spent using screens.  Some parents allow for short periods of time each day after homework and other responsibilities are completed.  While other parents only allow screen time or game play on weekends.  

No matter what you decide as a parent the most important factor for maintaining balance is consistency.  Children will push back and ask for more time or exceptions to be made but especially when starting out it is important to remain consistent. Parents can practice this by setting the limits with empathy and then engaging with their child in different activity that involves face to face interaction and is enjoyable for the whole family.  

Getting help:

If you are struggling with how to set limits, remaining consistent, or are concerned that your child may be addicted reach out to us, we would be honored to support you and your child through the process of reconnecting with family and friends. Call 217-231-1413 to schedule an appointment.

Read More about connecting with your child HERE

Read about how counseling works HERE

Check out the link below where I talk with KHQA news about how to find the balance between Video games and In real life interactions.

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