In recent years, another alarming addiction has popped up in society. The World Health Organization officially acknowledged gaming addiction as a serious concern that parents should watch out for. This is a mental health issue that is also known as a gaming disorder.
Gaming disorder can be applied to any individual that plays video games excessively to the point of neglecting and impairing his family, educational, personal, social, and other areas of functionality. This is also evident for about 12 months.
Symptoms Of Video Game Addiction
These symptoms will help you identify if your child actually has this disorder. Excessive gaming is quantified to have numerous negative effects on kids, such as:
This is when your child is always irritable or impatient when it comes to doing other things because he is eager to get back to playing the video game. He may also seem aggressive and reckless when he is not playing.
Lack Of Sleep
This goes hand in hand with the obsessive issue because kids often spend countless hours playing to the point of neglecting their sleep. Sleep deprivation, especially when repeated for days on end, can be seriously harmful to any child’s health. The lack of sleep will lower their immune system and cause a general weakness in the different systems of the body. Even their mental development will be affected because childhood is such a crucial period for brain development. As such, their learning capabilities and attention span will also be affected.
This is a result of staying before his laptop for hours on end. Social interactions with friends and family will be limited. This means that he will have fewer chances of developing his social skills which can take a serious toll in the later years.
Escaping Life Problems
Being immersed in a video game helps the child focus on something else as it transports him into a different universe. While it can be fun, it is definitely harmful in excess. The child will learn to use video games as a form of escapism which will affect the way he deals with problems. More specifically, he will resort to playing video games instead of confronting his responsibilities and problems in real life. Problem-solving is such an important aspect that needs to be developed as early as possible, and a child with a gaming addiction may be lacking in that department.
Other symptoms include:
- Diminished personal hygiene
- Being deceitful
- Annoyance, depression, and irritability
- Lack of interest in productive or intellectually-stimulating hobbies
- Neglecting academic responsibilities
- Lack of physical exercise
How To Break Your Child’s Addiction
Talk To Your Child
In these cases, open and honest communication is key. Try understanding the root of addiction from your child’s perspective so that you can foster a more compassionate approach.
Always reiterate that video games are meant to be forms of entertainment that should be played sparingly. Explain to your child that spending too much time will cause irreversible harm. You should also clarify that the video game world is vastly different from the world we live in. the victories within the screen are immaterial and fleeting compared to reality.
Moderate The Amount Of Playing Time
If playing video games is one of your child’s main sources of happiness, then it makes sense to moderate video games instead of completely eliminating them. This should be reserved for special occasions or framed as a reward that they have to work hard for.
You may set healthy time limits to prevent your child from playing excessively. For example, your child may play for an hour after dinner when he is done with all of his homework. Once you’ve figured out a schedule, make sure to stick to it so that your child won’t doubt your authority.
Moderation also means keeping the gaming consoles, tablets, phones, and other devices out of reach. Make sure to keep these in a separate room so that they won’t be tempted to play all night long.
Do Other Healthy Activities
The primary reason why kids develop a gaming addiction is that they are not stimulated enough and they have way too much free time in the first place. As such, it helps to fill up their schedule with worthwhile activities that will keep their mind off of gaming and keep them productive. Initiate crafty projects that will stimulate their artistic side. Make sure to incorporate physical activities like running and sports as these will keep them active and lessen the health risks that come with sitting in a gaming chair for long periods.
Encourage Them To Socialize
Socializing with kids from their age group allows your child to hone his communication and social skills. These hangouts will keep their mind off of gaming and allow them to dedicate their time to things that actually matter, which is making meaningful connections with other people.
Seek Professional Help
The instant you notice that your child has a gaming addiction, make sure to seek professional help immediately. The symptoms to watch out for are listed above. Once these symptoms materialize, go to the nearest addiction treatment center or book a consultation online. A therapist will perform a thorough assessment of your child and recommend the best course of action to remedy the addiction.
Make sure to go for a reputable facility so that your child will have a high chance for full recovery.