The digital world offers countless entertainment opportunities, especially for young children and teenagers.
The most widespread entertainment for today’s youth probably is video games on different digital devices.
But video games can cause addiction that may lead to serious health and social problems. In this article, we will go over the definition of excessive gaming, figure out how much is too much gaming for kids, and how to overcome your children’s addiction.
What’s a Gaming Addiction
According to Cleveland Clinic, gaming addiction is a condition where people can’t control their gaming habits.
Research by psychologist Douglas Gentile at Iowa State University showed that 8.5% of US children that play games get addicted to gaming.
That’s about 2 million children in the USA only! It is a serious problem that rarely gets much-needed attention.
Negative Effects of Gaming Addiction
Children of all ages can get addicted to video games. In the following paragraphs, we will go over the main risks of this type of addiction.
· Physical Effects
Children that excessively play games can develop major problems with their physical health.
Sitting in the same spot for hours may lead to dangerous sicknesses such as obesity, high blood pressure, posture problems, and diabetes since children tend to snack while playing.
· Mental Effects
Gaming addiction affects your child’s mental state the most. It may lead to several mental health problems that can cause damage.
It includes your child being exposed to disorders like depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, insecurity, etc. If your try to explain these risks to your child, they’ll probably say that school has the same effect on them.
That’s why we’ll go over ways of addressing gaming addictions to your children later in the article.
· Behavioral Effects
The behavioral effects of gaming addiction are closely linked with mental health effects.
Behavioral changes such as anger management issues, a constant need to use technology, lack of communication, and your children isolating themselves in their room might be signs of gaming addiction.
It is crucial to look out for these signs and prevent gaming addiction while it’s in the earlier phases.
· Social Effects
It’s no surprise that active gamers create their communities through the games they play or other linked platforms.
Personally (and I think you will all agree), communicating with people through a screen and using your fingers to talk instead of your mouth isn’t a positive way of socializing.
If your child is a part of this kind of community, they will distance themselves from real-life interactions and become more and more introverted.
· Academic Effects
Who needs schools when children can have fun playing video games all day and do no work at all, right? Of course not.
The constant usage of tech devices to play games might affect children’s academic success.
So, check up with teachers about your children’s school performances to detect whether or not your child might be suffering from gaming addiction.
How to Know if my Child is Addicted to Games
We’ve gone over the facts and negative effects that gaming has on your children.
The World Health Organisation has classified gaming addiction as a mental disorder characterized by the following symptoms:
- Aggressive, intolerant, and impatient behavior;
- Unsocial behavior. Instead, your child is introverted and quiet;
- A constant need for tech and games;
- Physical effects, like obesity;
- Your children lock themselves in the room for hours;
- The need to beg them to turn off the computer or even take it away;
How to Prevent Gaming Addictions
In the world of parenting, the parents are the bosses (it’s logical, isn’t it?). It’s up to you to prepare your child for a healthy future.
We’ll quickly look at some ways to stop gaming addictions even before they start.
· Educate Them About the Topic
A perfect way to prevent your child from developing a gaming addiction is by introducing them to the risks of video games at a young age.
I’m not saying that you must forbid gaming in your household because it wouldn’t make sense since we parents sometimes also play video games.
Instead, you should teach children the proper ways of playing video games and set limits on their tech usage.
· Make Healthy Habits
When you see that your child has started playing video games, you must act immediately.
Set limits and make sure that your children follow them. Build your household on a foundation of keeping promises and making healthy habits.
· Check What Your Children Play
You’ve probably seen what your children play. If not, do it. To not invade their privacy, try posing as you are interested in what they’re playing.
According to some studies, violent games can increase the chances of your child getting addicted to games.
Education, family, sports, and similar game genres can be good for relaxing and playing, but only if you limit them.
· Explore Nature and Exercise
Nature is the best place on Earth and, at the same time, the biggest one on Earth. But children and often parents don’t recognize and respect its beauty.
Every village, town, city, country, and continent has its own beauty that you should explore and introduce to your children.
Make a habit of walking in the park or playing outdoor games with your children every day. Also, keeping fit and exercising is a fun and positive way of spending time with your children.
How to Overcome Video Game Addiction
If your child gets addicted to technology, there are ways of improving and overcoming the addiction. That includes:
- Talks, debates, and constant communication with your child;
- Contacting other people that have overcome the addiction;
- Seeking professional help;
- Setting household rules and limits that must be respected;
- Constant reminders of the risks of gaming addiction;
The digital world, as we know it, offers many ways to entertain ourselves and our children.
Although video games are a perfect way to relax, children must be aware of the risks that come with playing games too much.
Preventing gaming addictions at a young age can create an even better path for today’s youth in fulfilling their obligation to build the future.
So, it is your job as parents to actively participate in your children’s life and prevent any chances of developing gaming addictions. Be there or be square!