Getting Your Teen Help for Video Game Addiction

Getting your teen help for video game addiction is the first step to take. But you may be wondering, “Is gaming addiction really that big of a deal?” Yes, it is that big of a deal. Gaming addiction can have serious physical, emotional, and social consequences.

But what makes a game addictive? Are there certain characteristics that make some games more addictive than others? Why are some teens more susceptible than others to this kind of addiction?

How can parents prevent such addiction from happening? You have to know your child/teen. Not every child/teen who plays video games will become an addict. Not every family will have this problem. Experts say that only 10% of gamers exhibit addictive behaviours. The other 90% of parents don’t have to worry.

As a parent, you need to know the signs of game addiction.

The more of these signs you can identify, the greater the need to get professional help:

  • Most non-school hours are spent on the computer or playing video games
  • Falling asleep in school
  • Falling behind with assignments
  • Worsening grades
  • Lying about computer or video game use
  • Choosing to use the computer or play video games, rather than see friends
  • Dropping out of other social groups (clubs or sports)
  • Being irritable when not playing a video game or being on the computer

There also are physical symptoms that may point to addiction:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Backaches or neck aches
  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes
  • Failure to eat regularly or neglecting personal hygiene

Also, some children/teens are more prone to addiction. Some of the characteristics are:

What do you do when a lot of these signs are showing or about to show in your child/teen?

  1. Start by letting him know you’re concerned about the amount of time he spends gaming.
  2. Visit video game addiction facts and let him read the symptoms. Also visit net addiction and do the addiction quiz.
  3. Do not be judgmental.
  4. If he is still with you (listening, discussing, doing the quiz), than discuss the following consequences:
    Grow distant from friends and family
    Homework not done
    School grades are slipping
    Neglect personal hygiene
    Use it as self-medication. A way to avoid uncomfortable feelings or situations
    Depression – do the depression test at psychcentral
    Unable to control impulses
    Anger outbursts and impatience
  5. Even if you don’t think your child/teen is addicted, the quizzes are a good way to start some dialogue and get them thinking about how they’re spending their time.
  6. You need to set strict limits and monitor usage. That means the computer or game systems need to be out in the living room or wherever there are other family members present.
  7. Get professional counselling and/or life-coaching.

What other activities can you put in place of video games that can keep your child/teen interested and occupied?

Children or teens that play four to five hours per day have little time for socializing, doing homework, or playing sports. Kicking the habit is hard, too. Video game and computer addicts can’t just avoid computers. They need to use them for homework and communication with friends.

Most important, you should help your child/teen find alternatives to video games. Try to get them to participate in sports, join the school band or an after school club, or just play outside with the neighbours. Don’t be afraid of the words, “I’m bored”. The truth is, if they get bored enough, they’ll find something to do. You can always offer to give them some extra chores.

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