Gaming is a fun pastime enjoyed by millions. However, some games offer a tantalizing hit of dopamine, making it hard to put them down.
Kids, who often lack impulse control, are susceptible to gaming addictions. Cybersecurity expert Lauren Mak at VPNOverview.com developed tips for parents to spot gaming addiction in their children and methods for preventing it.
These tips will help parents keep tabs on their kid’s gaming habits, allowing children to reap the many benefits of gaming without falling into an addictive rabbit hole.
Warning Signs of Gaming Addiction
The first step is to spot the signs of addiction.
According to Mak, children in the midst of gaming addiction may lose interest in other hobbies they once enjoyed, display symptoms of withdrawal when not playing, such as hostility and irritability, or neglect their personal care.
Some kids may also have trouble concentrating in school or struggle socially. Gaming addiction can lead to decreased empathy and difficulty making friends.
Gaming Addiction Leads to Physical Problems
Video game addictions don’t only hurt kids mentally and socially. They cause real physical problems to developing bodies.
Kids with video game addictions may experience heightened stress, migraines, and posture problems. They may often gain weight as they spend too much time in front of a screen and not enough time being active.
Preventing Video Game Addiction
Mak offered numerous strategies to help parents whose kids are at risk for developing a gaming addiction.
The first step is communication. Talk to them about their symptoms, feelings, and struggles at school. Work together to create a plan that can help. During these discussions, you must show them you’re there for them and want to get through this together.
Next, you must set healthy screen time boundaries with your kids. Limit their gaming time, and redirect them to other activities when the time is up. Mak stresses that leading by example is critical – you can’t expect your child to put the game down when you’re constantly scrolling.
If boundaries and redirections don’t work, you can take a strict approach and set parental controls on televisions and gaming systems. Monitor your child’s use, and use technology to set strict limits.
Keep in mind that children deserve privacy. Don’t get so strict that you become invasive. Provide them with a little room to grow and learn on their own.
Remember that Gaming Isn’t Negative
Many people hear “gaming addiction” and think of the old stories about how video games rot minds.
Parents need to rethink the notion that gaming is bad. Video games have tons of positive benefits. They help kids develop critical thinking skills, teamwork, and puzzle-solving abilities. Some games focus on creativity, letting kids design homes or build worlds.
When parents understand the benefits of gaming, they can approach an addiction problem more gently. Gaming isn’t bad, but excessive gaming is. Like anything, moderation is key.
Showing kids that you accept and support their gaming hobby in moderation may help them understand that they need to turn it off now and again.
Gaming isn’t Going Anywhere
Gaming as a hobby will only continue to grow. It’s best to teach your kids how to properly navigate the world of gaming without becoming addicted while you can.
As an expert from VPNOverview commented regarding the study, “It is important to remember that whilst you want your child or teenager to have fun and explore online gaming, you want them to be safe and develop healthy habits when it comes to spending time online whilst not intruding on their privacy.”
Following the steps outlined above will help your kids develop a healthy relationship with gaming so that they can enjoy the hobby without negative impacts on their lives.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.