Gaming Addiction – Is your child addicted to gaming?
Gaming Addiction is something all parents need to be aware of.
Parenting is a thankless task which sends us on a roller-coaster of trials and tribulations. Some, we expected but others we never imagined would happen in our lifetime, and gaming addiction is one of them.
The World Health Organisation classed Gaming Addiction as a mental health disorder for the first time late last year and parents around the world are now struggling to drag their children away from games like Fortnite.
Is this all just scaremongering or do you have a child who could be on the brink of being a gaming addict? Here are just some of the signs to look for and what to do if your child shows any of these signs.
- The first one is an obvious one but sometimes easily missed especially if you have a busy household. Monitor the amount of time your child is on a device.
If your child plays a variety of games, goes out to play with friends, plays lots of sports or does other activities outside of school, then spending an hour playing a game every night and a few hours on the weekend is not an issue. However, if your child comes home schools and jumps online to play every day of the week and then again on weekends, this needs to be addressed.
- Has your child’s performance at school or college changed? If there is a drop in concentration at school, this is one of the very first warning signs that they may be spending time on their gaming device when they should be doing homework.
- Is your child unusually moody, irritable, tired or not listening to you? This may sound like normal teenage behaviour but if it’s out of character for your child, it’s time to address the situation.
- Angry outbursts, unreasonable aggressive behaviour and unwilling to interact with anyone at home. If this sounds like your child, and they are in their room all the time, it’s time to take action.
- Being secretive and quieter than usual when not gaming and then being euphoric and overly excited whilst gaming is a clear signal that their moods depend on how well gameplay goes.
Here’s what to do if you are worried about your child being addicted to gaming.
- Set some rules and detail the times your child is allowed to game. Be firm when defining these times but do it with your child and discuss the reasons why.
- Get to know the game they are addicted to. Play the game with them, it may sound crazy but if they see that you are taking an interest in something they love, you will find it easier to discuss your concerns.
- Place the gaming console where you can see it all times so that any gameplay is done in the communal areas of your home.
- Reward your child with game time for any achievements at school or other activities. Set targets to meet at home and in school and when these are met, reward your child with a gaming session.
- Go cold turkey – if your child doesn’t adhere to any other rules relating to gaming, then take the device away and uninstall the game.
- In extreme cases consult a child therapist which you can do via your GP.