What is gaming addiction? Is it the sound of rapid mouse clicks at 3am? Or is it the zoned out appearance on your child’s face when they are engrossed by a video game? Gaming addiction can be defined as an impulse control disorder, which has been an increasing concern for parents. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, 94% of children aged 6-15 play games regularly and 95% of Australian homes have at least one device used for playing games.
Symptoms of gaming addiction include:
- Loss of interest in social activities
- Spending most of their spare time playing video games
- Showing signs of anger
- Moodiness or extreme distress when games are taken away
- Significant impact on their school work/achievements
- Deception around how much time they have been playing
All of these symptoms indicate that gaming and screen time are interfering with your child’s healthy wellbeing and daily functioning. It’s important to get in top of this before i t gets out of hand. Here are our top tips to combat gaming and screen-time addictions:
Setting a reasonable schedule for gaming
Gaming should be seen as a privilege to your child, and not a right. Instead of taking away their device as a whole, try setting a reasonable schedule for them to game. Gaming should only begin after their other responsibilities (homework, house chores etc.) are completed. This replicates a reward system and reiterates the importance of duties.
Use a timer
A major problem for parents is their child’s resistance to play within the set time limit boundaries. A great way to help your child transition from gaming to stopping their game is to use a timer! A timer helps your child to prepare for the end of their game and understand the boundaries. Furthermore, be clear by giving them time warnings at the 15, 10 and 5 minute left marks.
Get your child involved in other social activities
A great way to minimise gaming time is to fill their time with extra-curricular, social activities such as team sports, local arts and crafts programs, or even some youth programs that are usually held at the local library or community centre. Increasing your child’s social skills as well as filling up their time with other activities which will tire them out will aid in decreasing their gaming addiction.
If nothing seems to be working, bring them down to work with one of the child psychologist’s at Scope Clinical & Educational Services. We can help with the healthy wellbeing of your child and we’ll give you some simple steps to create a real change. Contact us to make a booking.