When hearing the word GAMING, most parents go AAAAARRRGGGGGHHHH.
Most parents I speak to, their kids are either ‘addicted’ or some kids sparacticlly play video games. Unfortunately responses are 70/30, being 70% kids are addicted! Our eldest used to be part of that 70, until we nipped it in the butt. However with school holidays and both hubby and I working, glimpses of that addiction are appearing again.
So what are signs of gaming addiction?
• Always having the urge to play.
• Symptoms of withdrawal – like boredom, anxiety, cravings or anger.
• Losing interests in previous hobbies or activities.
• Lying about playing .
• Forget about eating or going to the toilet while playing.
Video game addiction is an actual compulsive mental health disorder. It’s known that video game addicts spend over 10 hours a day gaming and well into the night. This is where you would notice your kids adapting a poor eating habit and sleep deprivation kicks in.
So how can you stop it if this is happening to your kids? (Speaking from personal experiences)
• Talk to your child first – sit them down and tell them how you feel and describe what you see is happening to them. Tell them your worried and it’s not healthy.
• Set playing times for your child to play in moderation – 1-2 hours on the weekend worked for us.
• Placing the console where you can see it – it helps you hear and monitor gaming activity.
• Set rules and stick to them – this is important. Playing times must be stuck to or ban them for a month. (Yes time to be the worst parent in the world).
• But also make game time a reward – if they have done homework or chores, you can reward them with extra time. But again, you must stick to the rules.
• Discuss what is going on with friends and family – at gatherings see if they can avoid any gaming while you are going through this transition.
• Bring the game boards out – Encourage game days/nights. Family bonding can help take your kids mind off gaming and they might actually have fun!!!
• Cold turkey – if all the above is not working, take away the gaming all together! This is when we experienced it with our elest with the ipad. Pack it up and put it away until you can see your childs addition fade away.
However if all the above fails, please consult a therapist or pediatrician.
Don’t be embarrassed to call help lines and get advice. Early intervention is key.
But all in all, gaming includes many positive outcomes as well. When parents and children play them together, a true bond can form. But remember – all in moderation.