If you are a parent worried about your teen’s time playing video games, you are not alone. Gaming can start to take over someone’s life, similar to gambling or substance use. Too much gaming can lead to sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, social isolation, and maybe even game addiction. Gaming addiction is becoming a growing concern in this country. How much is too much when it comes to gaming, though, and how can you spot gaming addiction? Find out by calling Foothills at Red Oak today at 866.300.5275.
Should Parents Worry About Gaming?
Gaming is not good or bad. The fact is, there are benefits to playing video games, and there are risks. The problem isn’t gaming itself, but the time kids, and adults for that matter, can spend doing it.
Parents need to establish healthy gaming habits for kids. They must set boundaries and supervise gaming activities. Parents should always know the time their kids spend playing games and what games they enjoy.
What Are the Benefits to Gaming?
Again, gaming isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some benefits make it fun activity kids should enjoy within proper limits.
Benefits of gaming for kids include:
- Improved spatial reasoning
- Enhanced motor skills
- Improved reaction times
Gaming is also a form of socialization. The virtual community in the gaming world can ensure that even shy children socialize and connect with others.
What Is Gaming Addiction?
Gaming can cause mental health disorders like addiction, too. It is easy to become preoccupied with playing games. Teens may go through psychological withdrawal when they stop playing.
They also build up a tolerance for game playing. That is why it becomes so easy to sit for hours playing the same game.
Eventually, game playing may interfere with other things in their life. They may stop hanging with friends unless they are playing a video game. Their grades may drop because they don’t stop playing long enough to study. All these symptoms are very similar to what you see with substance use disorder or gambling.
Gaming can lead to a process addiction. Process addiction means you develop a powerful impulse to repeat a specific behavior, regardless of the consequences. People with gaming addiction may choose to play even if it causes problems in their lives.
How Much is Too Much When It Comes to Gaming?
There are many variables to consider when setting limits for gaming, including age. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, very young children should have limits of just one to two hours per sitting. Beyond that, most guidelines focus on creating balance in activities.
Parents can set their own limits in a way that ensures video games are not all your teen enjoys. Insist they turn off the screen and play sports or enjoy extracurricular activities, too.
Also, make sure they practice healthy gaming. Pay attention to ratings on the games they play and encourage them to develop safe habits such as looking away from the screen every 20 minutes and stopping if they develop gaming injuries such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
What Is the Treatment for Gaming Addiction?
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery is an adolescent treatment program for boys. Our gaming addiction program focuses on dealing with the psychological withdrawal that comes when gaming stops. We also offer a variety of therapies that can refocus that energy, such as:
Our holistic approach to healing helps adolescents diversify their interests healthily and safely.