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Your child might be addicted to video games if they exhibit the following signs:
- Talk about their game(s) incessantly
- Play for hours on end (I played for up to 14 hours a day when possible)
- Get defensive when told about their excessive gaming habit
- Get angry or explosive when made to stop
- Sacrifice basic needs (e.g., sleep) in order to game
- Hide or downplay time spent gaming
- Seem preoccupied, depressed, or lonely
If you’ve determined that your child likely has an addiction, there are a number of ways you can help. You can educate yourself at sites like video-game-addiction.org and On-Line Gamers Anonymous . Once you have reviewed treatment options, such as therapists or wilderness camps, you then have to take the bold step of actually intervening.
The good news is that your child can break the addiction. I’ve been free from my addiction now for nearly a decade, and while it still rears its ugly head every once in a while, it is by-and-large behind me.
Because the intervention process can be very difficult, depending on the seriousness of the addiction, I want to give you some extra motivating factors to follow through with it. Studies are beginning to show that excessive gaming (approximately 3 hours per week) by youths is linked with increased levels of depression, anxiety, and social phobia, all of which can last years into the future.
As a final thought, I’d like to recognize the fact that not all games are bad and not everyone is prone to addiction. My goal here isn’t to demonize gaming as I fully recognize that gaming also brings with it some benefits, like the accepting culture of the gaming community and the cognitive benefits of educational games for children.
But for video game addicts, the dark downsides of their addiction far outweigh any potential benefits. If your child has a video game addiction, please consider helping them break it.