What to Do if Your Child is Addicted to Video Games

1 June 2018

Video game addiction can be as serious as other addictions. As technology develops, so does excessive gaming, and the age of those addicted to gaming is getting lower and lower. This habit can have damaging effects on the person’s life, as well as those around them. Video game obsession can be particularly detrimental to young people, affecting their education, relationships and social development. But, it can be cured. Read our tips on what to do if your child is addicted to video games.

Create limits

The difficult thing with video game obsession is that technology isn’t going away, and it will almost always be involved in your child’s life. The trick is to create a healthier balance. Start by limiting the amount of time allowed on video games. This may involve removing the source and creating boundaries on how long is spent each week playing games. It will be hard for your child to start with, but as time goes by it should get easier. In the long term, your child will see the benefits of these limitations as they build better relationships and get good grades at school.

Make screen-time a reward

Scored a goal in football? Allow an extra 30 minutes of gaming time at the weekend. Got a good grade in a maths test? Allow them to enjoy one hour after-school that day. Having video games provided as a reward for fulfilling a different aspect of their lives, will encourage your child to continue to do well. Likewise, punish your child with no gaming-time if they exceed their time limit or don’t do their chores.

Therapy

In extreme cases, the need for counselling and therapy may arise to tackle obsessive video gaming. This can come in many forms, such as group therapy or cognitive behavioural sessions. If your child is experiencing psychological and physical symptoms such as getting angry when access to video games is denied, letting friendships and relationships deteriorate, or experiencing weight gain or sleep difficulties, you may need to take matters further.

If you believe your child’s excessive gaming is past the point of your help, consult your GP. Furthermore, there are plenty of helplines that offer advice. Video game addiction is one helpline, and you can contact them on 08000 886 686, or request a free call-back.

Convert online excitement to real-life excitement

Arguably one of the most constructive ways of dealing with addiction to gaming is reminding your child that they can have fun in real-life and not just the online reality that they’re immersed in. Social activities that also have a purpose can work to improve their self-esteem and social development. Team sports and after school clubs can be a great way to start, as it also introduces them to lots of new people. Activities can also include things that boost emotional enjoyment such as reading, volunteering or learning to play an instrument.

The Army Cadet Force is a perfect way to get your child outside again. It also provides guidance, life skills, social development and the opportunity to form close bonds along the way. Browse online through the large number of activities your child will take part in if they join the cadets. Your child may discover a love for camping, kayaking, or mountain biking, which will help them forget about that computer or Xbox sitting at home.

With over 1,600 detachments all over the UK - fun, friendship, action and adventure is bound to be on your family’s doorstep. Find out more about the ACF and the valuable qualifications and social skills that your child can achieve whilst with us.