Video game addiction is a serious problem that can negatively affect a child’s grades, social life, and health; limiting video game playing time can help reduce the likelihood of addiction and ensure that a child has a well-rounded schedule of healthy activities. There are some simple ways to ensure that a child plays only a healthy amount of video games. Work with children to combat video game addiction.
Video Game Addiction – Monitor Video Game Playing Time
There are a number of signs that parents can watch for if they think their child may be addicted to video games. Withdrawal from academic and social activities in favor of playing games on the Xbox, Wii or Playstation can be a sign of addiction; if a child neglects his schoolwork or friends to play games, he may have a video game addiction. Once school starts, pay attention to a child’s grades; if his grades begin slipping due to playing video games, it’s time for him to make a lifestyle change.
Additionally, weight gain can be a sign of video game addiction. Sedentary teens are more likely to become obese, and teen obesity is a major health risk for children. Teens who sit and play video games for more than an hour a day, especially if coupled with unhealthy snacking and low physical activity, puts teens at risk of becoming obese.
Keep track of how long a child is playing video games each day, and make a chart comparing the length of time spend on games versus homework, socializing and other healthy activities. This can be a good tool for showing a teen that he is spending too much time playing games.
How to Handle Video Game Addiction
Children with a video game addiction need their parents’ help in reducing the amount of time spent playing games. This can range from taking games away entirely to a more moderate approach in limiting video game time. Discuss various options with an individual child to determine the best course of action.
Slowly limiting video game time is a good way to gradually get a child away from video games and involved in other activities. Signing a child up for a sport or extracurricular activity will provide an alternate outlet for activity, which can help reduce the desire to play games.
Set a one-hour time limit for games each day, and make sure the child can hear the timer when it goes off. If he wants to continue playing, simply subtract that time from the following day’s allotment. This is a simple way to create and reinforce limits on video game playing. A video game timer can help children develop a better concept of time when playing games.
Video Game Addiction – Provide Alternatives to Video Games
Offer alternatives to playing video games, such as hanging out with friends, playing sports and getting involved in school activities. Getting a child active in a number of things aside from video games is a good way to redirect energy to something positive. Children who are well-rounded and active in a number of areas are more likely to do better in school and feel more confident about themselves.
Overweight teens should be enrolled in a sport or weight training class in order to get down to a healthy weight. Childhood obesity can cause many health problems later on in life, and maintaining a healthy diet in the adolescent years is important.
Recognizing the signs of video game addiction is important, and can help parents get kids involved in healthy, fun activities that boost their confidence, give them a well-rounded education and ensure that video games are a fun pastime, and not an addiction. Monitoring video game time is an important part of ensuring a healthy childhood.