How To Prevent And Correct Video Game Addiction
What do you do if you have a child, most likely a son, who plays Internet or video games obsessively? How do you know if he has gone too far and spends too much time gaming? And how do you get him to cut back? Whether an addiction to gaming is diagnostically real is up for debate by the experts, but the fact remains that people can become obsessed with gaming to the detriment of other aspects of their lives. It’s important for parents to monitor a child’s gaming and set limits if it gets out of hand.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the number one resource for diagnosing any kind of mental disorder or condition, including addiction. In the latest edition, DSM-5, experts decided not to include Internet gaming disorder as a diagnosable condition. They did, however, list it in a section for potential disorders requiring further research. This means that there is a possibility that Internet gaming and video gaming can be problematic for individuals and can approach addictive-like levels.
DSM-5 describes gaming disorder as characterized by compulsive playing, avoiding other activities and interests in favor of gaming, and distress or impairment as a result of these behaviors. Some obsessive gamers even experience withdrawal-like symptoms when their games are taken away. It turns out that this issue of compulsive gaming is a real problem with some kids. Research has found that among boys who game, 12 percent fit the definition of addicted, while 8 percent of girls do.
Preventing And Correcting Obsessive Gaming
Whether or not this obsessive level of gaming gets labeled as an addiction is largely unimportant. As long as experts recognize that some young people truly have a problem with gaming and have the resources to help them, labeling doesn’t matter. If you are the parent of a child who enjoys gaming, be aware of the issue and be prepared to act if you think your child has a problem.
Signs Of A Problem With Gaming
First it is important to recognize the signs of a problem. Your child may be at risk of a gaming addiction if he can’t seem to stop playing, even when you repeatedly ask him to stop. He may also lie about how much he plays games and may start to lose interest in other activities he used to enjoy. Others signs of a problem are slipping grades or being tired from gaming too much. If your child is already showing some of these signs and you can’t get him to stop, it may be time to get some professional help. A good therapist, recommended by your pediatrician, will be able to help get you started.
If your child is not yet showing signs of a problem, but you’re still worried, there are some steps you can take to avoid a gaming addiction. Start by setting limits. Your child should not have free reign to play games whenever and for as long as he wants. Set aside a certain time during the day and do not allow gaming at any other time. Another great way to get kids off of games and devices in general is to engage in family activities unrelated to technology. Take a hike together, go to the park, go to the pool or take a camping trip and outlaw devices for the duration.
It is also important to talk to your child about your concerns. Explain how it is easy to get obsessed with certain activities, like gaming, and how that can be bad for you. Being open with your child is a great way to foster trust and communication and to help him understand why you set limits.
Read This Post To Find Out If Your Child Is Addicted To Gaming, The Signs And What To Do