There is no doubt that playing games is a marvelous source of entertainment for kids and is a normal part of the development of kids. Online games or offline video games are the stuff that kids enjoy playing in their spare time.
With the significant improvements in online gaming or video gaming design and UI, kids nowadays are becoming crazier and more fascinated about gaming. Kids are occupied with video games all the time.
As per the research evidence,
- Children in the UK aged between 12-14 spend nearly 14 hours per week playing games in 2018. However, it dropped to 11.6 hours per week in 2019.
- There are over 2 billion people worldwide who play video games, and the market value of video games is likely to be $90 billion in America by 2020.
Playing video games is okay until and unless it starts affecting kid’s studies. The problem arises when kids neglect their academic studies and other social and physical activities to play video games, leading to gaming addiction.
If you are unaware of “gaming addiction” and curious about it, this article is for you. This post covers everything about gaming addiction, such as what gaming addiction is, the symptoms of gaming addiction, and ways to eliminate it.
What is gaming addiction?
Gaming addiction, also known as gaming disorder or internet gaming disorder, is generally defined as the problematic, compulsive, or uncontrolled use of video games that cause significant problems in other areas of a person’s life. When not treated properly, excessive gaming addiction can lead to severe health problems.
Moreover, the World Health Organization has officially recognized “gaming disorder or gaming addiction” as a mental health condition.
As per WHO, “Gaming disorder is defined in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
Symptoms of Gaming addiction
Preoccupation with gaming
The first and foremost sign to determine gaming addition in your child is their preoccupation with the game. If your child continuously thinks about the previous game or anticipates the next game before the end of the current game, then they have already become addicted to gaming. Internet gaming becomes the dominant activity in their life.
If your child shows symptoms such as distress, irritability, sadness, or panic when internet gaming is taken away or going without gaming for a couple of days, then your child has become addicted to gaming. Kids even show anger burst out if their parents denied them from playing a video game all day long.
Loss of self-control
Kids who become addicted to gaming often lose the sense of time while playing video games. They end up playing for hours and hours, ignoring all the other work that needs to be done, such as assignments. They cannot control themselves from participating in internet gaming.
Lack of Social engagement
Kids are likely to spend most of their time playing games online. Although online video games require engaging with others in a virtual environment, that does not mean they prepare children for the realities of socializing with friends and family.
Poor physical fitness
Sitting for hours at the same place leads to public health concerns such as
- weight gain,
- poor posture,
- an increased risk of type 2 diabetes,
- sore eyes.
- Back pain
Kids who spend hours and hours sitting at a computer or in front of a device can take a toll on their bodies. Children often prefer to avoid self-care or personal hygiene in place of gaming. The health conditions of the kids can become worse due to a lack of physical activity.
Problems with concentration and attention
While playing video games, rapid movements and fast-paced video games promote a loss of concentration in players. Children who are likely to spend more time playing online video games find it difficult or become less interested in reading books as it requires focused and prolonged attention.
Bad academic performance
If your kids are not performing well at school or their grades are decreasing day by day, playing video games too often can be one major cause. It is often seen that kids who are game addicted are likely to spend less time doing assignments or other academic-related work. Their performance also gets worse on the standardized test of reading and writing.
Children with high video game addiction tendencies may be at the risk of sleep deprivation. The sleep deprivation caused due to excessive use of video games results with
- Daytime drowsiness
- Poor concentration
- Cardio-metabolic health
- Poor academic/ work performance
Moreover, here are some of the questions to ask yourself to determine if your kids have the condition
- Do your kids skip meals to play a video game?
- Are your kids losing interest in activities they once enjoyed?
- Do your kids become irritable and sad when they are asked not to play video games?
- Are your kids neglecting schoolwork to play video games?
- Are they suffering from physical problems such as eye strain, migraines from gaming too much?
And if you find your child has some of these problems, then it’s time to control your kid from playing video gaming or stop them from being more gaming addicted. You can use parental control apps that are easily available in the market to stop your kid from being a gaming addict.
Use of parental apps to rescue kids from being gaming addicts
One of the most effective ways to recuse a kid from being a heavy video game player is using parental control apps. Parents are suggested to make the use of parental control apps.
So basically, parental control apps are the tools that let you monitor and control your kid’s app usage, track their online activities and also allow you to block some of the sites that you find ambiguous.
With the use of parental control apps, you can
- Monitor all installed apps and their details.
- Keep track of app usage frequency
- Apply restriction and set time limits to use gaming apps
- Blocklist any of the apps you find inappropriate and ambiguous
- View browsing history with the details of the URL and the date and time stamps
- Check at their bookmarks and favorites stored in their browser
- Keep an eye on the most visited or accessed websites
- Apply internet filters to restrict them from accessing online games
- Set auto-screen locks for a specified period at any time
- Lock their devices remotely to restrict device access
There are many parental control apps available that you can try to make your child stop being a gaming addict. Some of the best parental control apps are Fenced.ai, Bark.us, Net nanny.
Besides this, some of the other strategies you can apply to manage unhelpful patterns of gaming addictions.
Strategies to prevent gaming addiction problems
- Keep phones and other devices out of the bedroom so your kids won’t play into the night.
- Encourage your kids to do other physical activities every day, including exercise or a short hike with the family. It will lower the health risks of sitting and playing for long periods.
- Try to be a good role model of moderate screen use. Although you may not play video games as a responsible parent, you need to be mindful and decrease your screen time to family time.
- Try to put some conditions in front of them whenever they ask to play video games. For example, if your kids ask whether they can play games or not, you can answer yes, but only after completing your homework.
- If your kids are going out of your hands and handling them has become a challenging task, then without a second thought, consult some psychologists as gaming disorder has been recognized as an official mental disease by WHO.
Gaming is not a bad habit. There is nothing wrong if your child loves playing games, and enjoying games is normal. However, it can be a serious issue when it starts creating problems in your personal life or how you live your life. As parents, it becomes important to look out for signs of whether your kids are too dependent on gaming.
Moreover, gaming addiction is not the same as other addictions. At first, it is very difficult to realize that your kids are suffering from gaming addiction disorder as it is very insidious in nature.
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Compared to other addictions, gaming addiction seems to be simple. But it is not as simple as it appears to be. It becomes hard to recognize until it has taken over your kid’s life. However, if you watch your kid’s activities and see what impact video gaming has made on your kid’s life, it will be easy for you to control their addiction.