Does your child play video games instead of doing homework? Does she avoid social situations and does her behavior deteriorate as a result of constant play? I have heard despair and anxiety in the voices of many, many parents whose children seem to spend all their time playing video games.
As one parent said: “I am concerned that my son is addicted. When I turn off the game, he gets nervous and explodes! I just don’t know what to do. ”
If you are concerned about how much time your child spends playing, you are not alone. In fact, this is a frequent topic we hear from parents on our parent conference calls.
Additionally, in 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed 2,000 children ages 8 to 18 in 2010 and found that, on average, children spend 7 hours and 38 minutes a day looking at the screen. Do the math – that’s more than 53 hours a week in front of the screen – more than a full-time job!
But understand: even if your child plays a lot of games and gets upset when you set limits, it doesn’t mean they have an addiction. In fact, while there are many rumors about “video game addiction” these days, the American Psychiatric Association has yet to recognize it as a true disorder.
Show you how you can set limits on your child’s play. I also give you some simple tips to help you understand whether your child’s use of video games can become pathological, in other words, unhealthy or addiction-like. Finally, I am also going to reveal some well-kept secrets your kids don’t want you to know about their gaming systems. You will love it, although your children will not!
When video game apply crosses the line
As a parent of a children who plays video games, computer games, or games on handheld devices such as cell phones, it is important to observe your child’s general health at home, school, in social circles, and their mental or psychological functioning. … First, let’s look at some of the good things about video games: some are educational, some promote physical activity, and playing with others can help children develop sharing and collaboration skills.
Video games can also help build resilience and even help children develop problem-solving skills and patience in difficult situations.
Now I know that many of you really have trouble playing video games with your kids and you don’t see any good in them. This is a really difficult place. Video game designers create games to be highly entertaining and to keep the user active. Children find it especially difficult to stop when they are caught up in the positive feedback loops (or reward loops) that these games create. Here are some things to keep in mind that could mean your child’s video game use is becoming unhealthy:
- Video games seem to dominate your child’s life. They seem to be your only motivator and take most of your thinking. She talks about video games all the time when she’s not playing them and spends a lot of time studying them or planning her next chance to play.
- Your child’s social interactions inside and outside the home have been negatively affected: friendships appear to have been weakened, your child has given up on previously enjoyed social activities, and family relationships are strained or damaged by video game use.
- Your child has poor grades or is constantly neglected due to video game play.
- Stopping video games for any cause has a long-term negative impact on your child’s emotions. When unable to play, he becomes depressed, mood swings, angry, aggressive, or violent.
- Your child has stolen video games from shops or friends on several occasions, or has stolen money from others to buy video games. He often lies about how much time he wasting playing video games.
So what can you do to maximum your child’s ability to play video games and create healthy boundaries around him? This will be more difficult for some of you than others. Some children are much more involved in video games, and in these cases it will be more difficult to set limits.
1. Determine if you need additional support
If most of the above examples ring to your child, or if your child becomes destructive, aggressive, threatening, or aggressive when you try to coerce or restrict play, it may be helpful to speak with someone in your area who can work directly with you and your child when you make changes. This could mean talking with your child’s pediatrician or working with a local therapist to determine what changes are appropriate, how to respond to negative behavior, and how to effectively apply your limitations with your child.
2. Start slowly
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends maxi,izing video games to one hour per day. And while it may be tempting to drastically reduce your child’s access to play or even take her out of the house entirely, it may be best to start slowly. Let your child know that you are beginning to doubt if you have a place for video games because they seem to cause a lot of trouble. Give a couple of specific examples, for example: “When I tell you to turn them off, you are using bad language. And since you started playing _______, your grades have gone from four and three to four and four. “Let your child know that instead of ditching games right now, he will first try a new rule, and that his ability to Following that rule or not will help you determine if the games will stick.
3. Be specific
Let your child know what guidelines you will use to determine whether or not video games work. Talks about four questions you can apply to evaluate the new limit in your home:
- What will we see if it works?
- What will we do if it works?
- What will we see if it doesn’t work?
- What are we moving to do if it doesn’t work?
You really want to discuss these questions and answers with your child. For example, you could say: “From now on, video games should be turned off at 20:00. If it works, I’ll see you turn them off at 8 without insulting, and your grades may even improve in school. If this happens, we will continue. If that doesn’t work, I’ll see him start a fight at 8pm and continue playing later. If this happens, you will lose your gaming privileges the next day. ”
Work with your child to find a new technique that he can use to try to turn off video games in a much more timely manner. For example, you’re discussing the idea that your child avoids certain funnier games at certain times, or sets up a reward system to turn games off when a timer goes off. Also regard how your child can cope with the discomfort caused by stopping playing, or talk about what else to do if he is bored. Discuss these things with your child to help him be successful.
5. Be empowered
Let’s face it, the custom menus in these games are often not very user friendly. But I found that most of these organizations have websites with instructions for setting up parental controls. And brace yourselves parents: did you know that the Xbox has a family timer? You can program the console to automatically shut down after game time runs out during the day!