Although there are not many recent reports on this issue, it was found several years ago that one in every 20 children in the USA was addicted to video gaming. If we consider it on a global scale, the rate might be even more alarming.
The rise in the number of children hooked to video games doesn’t come as a surprise. Video gaming as an industry has tremendously grown in the last few years and the revenues have hit record highs. Therefore, things like child video gaming addictions are some of the side effects that the industry has to contend with.
The average 8-to-18-year-old enthusiast spends 1 hour and 13 minutes a day playing video games. This is a telling sign that video games are quickly becoming a menace in the world and need more attention. So, as a parent, what should you do to prevent addiction? How can you spot the symptoms? And what should you do in the event that your child is addicted to playing video games?
Read on to find out more about gaming addictions and why you should reduce your child’s time on the console, sending them out of the house to play with other children in an old-fashioned way.
Why Millions of Children are Addicted to Video Games
Obviously, the $150-billion gaming industry understands the needs of the modern gamer. The developers have created projects that entice players and leave them craving for more even after they are done playing. Through the combination of excellent graphics, intuitive gameplay and a series of mind-boggling challenges, these games succeed in keeping players glued to their consoles, TV screens, and mobile devices for hours.
There is also a social aspect of the modern-day games, which lets players connect with each other and compete over the Internet. The social integration into games has been a huge contributing factor to addictions.
Lack of parental guidance or watch is also a contributing factor to the growing addiction cases. Most parents succumb to the pressure of gifting their children game consoles. But, they don’t do much in terms of following up to find out just how much their children are using their consoles. Parents are often too busy with their careers to even notice the symptoms of video game addictions.
To help you recognize these signs, here are some tell-tale symptoms of gaming addiction:
- Children who are hooked to gaming tend to be thinking about their consoles and games all the time. Be it in school, out on dinner, or even on holiday, they are always talking about their games.
- They have mood swings and anger when they can’t play. Children with addiction problems will throw tantrums if asked to abandon their consoles and run errands around the house. The addicts may spend more than 60 hours per week playing video games, especially on holidays.
- You will observe their worsening performance at school and incomplete homework tasks. A lot of children who are addicted to gaming, often experience deteriorating grades at school. It should, however, be noted that game addiction is not the only cause of poor grades. If you get increased reports of unfinished homework tasks from your kid’s teachers, then you might want to take time and find out just how much time your child is spending on their console or computer.
- Problem gamers opt for desperate measures such as stealing credit cards to pay for in-game services. Once addicted to gaming, children often find ways to use their parents’ bank cards to pay for premium features in games.
If you realize that your child is experiencing any of these listed symptoms, you should watch their activity closely. Probably, your child needs proper counselling and guidance. Compulsive gaming is a disorder that can be corrected if it is identified early enough through professional therapy. But as a parent, you should not wait until it gets that far, you can prevent addiction in your child by doing the following.
Tips on How to Prevent Game Addiction in Children
Encourage Your Children to Go Out and Play
While it doesn’t hurt to spend half an hour a day playing console games, children should always be encouraged to play outside. Not only is it healthy for the body, but it also helps children learn to interact with their peers.
And hey, we played outside often and we were just fine, didn’t we?
Put a Limit on Time Children Can Play Video Games
Always monitor your children’s use of electronic devices and set a daily limit on the amount of time they can spend on their devices. Whether it is a mobile device, a console, or a computer, they should only use them for less than an hour a day and only after they have finished their homework.
Watch Out For the Symptoms of Addiction
As a parent, you should keep your eyes open and look out for odd behaviours of your children. If they show any signs that point towards addiction, you should talk to a professional. Together, you should help your children unshackle themselves from addiction.
In an effort to prevent addiction in your children, you should not overlook the fact that there are some talented individuals, who eke out a living as professional gamers. You should, therefore, proceed with moderation while leaving some room for those with genuine talents in the gaming field to express themselves.
Use our tips provided above to ensure that your children stay clear of addiction and maintain a healthy lifestyle.