Help Spotting Video Game Addiction In Children
Education & Parenting258
Shropshire Mums on Wed Jun 8 12:52 2022
A recent study has found that “How to break a child’s video game addiction” is among the most Googled questions about addiction with an average of 860 searches each month.
The number of children and young adults receiving treatment for gaming addiction tripled during the height of the pandemic in 2020. As technology develops and becomes more accessible, it's important that parents are aware of the signs of gaming addiction.
The team of addiction specialists at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere have revealed how to recognise signs that your child is addicted to gaming before it gets out of control.
What is Video Game Addiction?
Gaming addiction refers to the uncontrollable use of video games that is characterised by compulsive behaviour and can develop after a long period of excessive gaming.
When a person who enjoys playing video games engages in the activity, the brain’s reward centre releases dopamine chemicals in response to the pleasurable experience and so they will often go back, again and again, to seek out the dopamine release.
People can often develop an addiction to games because they are designed to be naturally addictive by creators who incorporate small “wins” into the game that keep you coming back for more, including high scores and completing levels.
What Are the Signs to Look Out For?
1. Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
Children that become addicted to games, can often start to neglect other things in their lives that usually make them happy, such as socialising with family and friends, sports or other hobbies.
2. Feeling irritable or upset when they can’t play games
If you suspect that your child might be addicted to gaming, one sign to look out for is if they become angry or upset when their games are taken away from them.
3. Playing games for hours on end
A more obvious sign of gaming addiction in children is when they begin to spend hours on end without a break in front of their computer or device. They may also continue to play for long periods of time despite being told to reduce the amount of time they are gaming for.
4. Lying about how much time they spend playing games
Another sign of gaming addiction is if your child starts to lie or try to conceal how much time they spend gaming, or if they start going behind their parent's back in order to play games even when they know they aren’t meant to.
5. Thinking or talking about their game constantly
There is nothing wrong with your children being engaged or passionate about a game that they are playing. But when it becomes all they talk or think about it could be a warning sign of gaming addiction.
6. Declining performance in school work
Playing games for too long can also lead to distraction from other responsibilities your child may have. Those suffering from addiction will often be waiting for school to end so they can play their games, resulting in them making mistakes or seeing their performance in school work declining.
7. Sleep habits are being interrupted
If your child is gaming while they should be sleeping, they will start to show signs of sleep deprivation and a change in their mood.
8. Being preoccupied depressed or lonely
Though gaming can often be considered a social activity, it can also be quite isolating as those who are addicted can often withdraw themselves from people in the real world. If you’re worried your child might be addicted to games, signs to look out for could include low mood, or being withdrawn when you try to engage in conversation with them.
9. They continue to game despite negative consequences
Even though your child may be aware that their gaming habits are having negative effects on their life, including sleep deprivation, losing friends and arguing with their parents, those who are addicted will continue to game despite the negative consequences it is having.
10. Neglecting personal hygiene
Another symptom of gaming addiction can include neglecting personal hygiene such as avoiding showers or not changing clothes for days on end so they can spend more time gaming.
How Can You Prevent Gaming Addiction?
So is there a way we can prevent children from gaming addiction? We’ve asked Dr Catherine Carney, Psychiatrist, at Delamere to explain how parents can put measures in place to help combat children’s video game addiction.
Catherine Carney, Psychiatrist at Delamere explains: “There are many ways that a child’s gaming addiction can be treated and prevented. One of the most effective methods is setting a timer for your child to play their chosen game. Once the timer has gone off, they have to turn off the computer and move on to a different activity – allowing them to still enjoy their game in moderation.
“Setting a rule that your child only plays games with friends would remove the isolation aspect of gaming addiction. Suggesting a gaming party, rather than a long solo session, would allow your child to improve their teamwork and communication skills – offering a healthier environment for your little one to indulge in their hobby.”
Article research credit to Delamere Private Rehab Clinic