Over 95% of children play video games, an estimated 2% are said to be ‘addicted’.
There’s currently a smorgasbord of online games for children to choose from. Runescape, fortnite, word of Warcraft, Dota and the list goes on.
When does online gaming become a problem?
Currently there is no defined criteria determining ‘problem gaming’ or defining ‘gaming addiction’.
However here are some signs you may want to look out for.
- Mood swings & withdrawal symptoms
An individual’s mood may noticeably change and as one increases their time gaming, they may experience anger or frustration when unable to play.
- Loss of interest in school performance and other activities.
Previously enjoyed activities (sports, hobbies, friends) and interest in school performance will begin to decrease, as an individual becomes more focused solely on gaming.
- Isolation & aggression.
When gaming becomes a problem, an individual will often spend less time with friends and family, in order to play. Any attempts to limit or prevent gaming will be met with hostility or aggression.
What can parents do?
- Parent as a team and set boundaries.
Discuss and agree on a set time limit allowable each day for gaming. Discuss this with your child and be consistent with implementing this. Ideally, no gaming in bedrooms.
- Homework and chores must be done before gaming.
- Talk to your child.
If they’re open to it, discuss how they’re currently feeling about school, their friends and life overall. It’s possible that they’re using their gaming to cope with other issues (bullying, stress, depression, anxiety etc).
If you think gaming may be a problem for yourself or someone in your life, you may want to get some professional help.