Kids today love video games more than ever. Gaming is a huge part of your child’s generation and how they relate to their friends. Whether it’s a new release or an old favorite, your child may talk about gaming with their friends, discuss tactics online and, of course, play for seemingly endless hours. There reaches a point, however, where your child’s gaming gets out of control. If you think your child may have a gaming addiction, it might be time to get professional help.
The Dangers of Too Much Gaming
Video games can be addictive. These immersive experiences trigger the reward center of your child’s brain and can shape their behavior. In this way, video game addiction can have a similar effect as drug or alcohol misuse. Excessive gaming can be dangerous — especially in children whose brains are more sensitive to this form of stimuli.
How Many Hours of Video Games Is Too Much?
How much gaming is too much? How do you know if an innocent pastime has crossed the line into dangerous territory? Here are some signs to look out for that could indicate that your kid’s addicted to video games:
- Your child is irritable or restless when they’re not playing.
- The experience sleep deprivation from staying up late gaming.
- They get little to no physical exercise.
- Your child has physical complaints such as dry eyes, headaches or back pain.
- They’re isolated from friends and family members.
- Gaming becomes their main motivation or focus.
- They neglect school, activities and other responsibilities.
- They lack interest in reading or other hobbies.
- They use video games to escape life’s problems.
- Your child lies about video game usage.
- They show a lack of personal hygiene.
How to Break a Child’s Video Game Addiction
It can be heartbreaking to witness an addiction to video games. Depending on how old your child is, you may not know how to stop their video game addiction. After all, it’s one thing to ground a child under ten. Taking electronics away from a headstrong teenager can be more challenging.
Excessive video gaming can severely impact your child’s emotional and social development, so it’s important to take action. Here are some things you can do if your child is addicted to video games:
- Put your child’s video gaming in perspective. Explain that their gaming has gotten out of hand and that you’re concerned.
- Set gaming limits. Limiting your child’s gaming to one hour on school days or three hours maximum on weekends.
- Be firm. Enforce the limits you set up and have consequences in place if they do not follow your restrictions.
- Using gaming as a reward: Your child’s gaming time could be dependent on performing other tasks, such as chores or getting good grades.
- Introduce other fun activities: From family hikes to game nights, show your child there is a wide world of things to enjoy.
If you’re dealing with an adult child who is addicted to gaming, many of these methods will probably be ineffective. Instead, encourage your child to seek treatment.
Professional Help for Your Child’s Gaming Addiction
If you feel that your child is struggling with a gaming addiction, you are not alone. The team at Gateway Foundation is here with life-changing addiction treatment. We have been serving the Illinois area for over 50 years, and we’re proud to offer individualized programs to meet your child’s unique needs. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us today. We want to see your family heal from the pain of gaming addiction.