Children’s Game Addiction
Parents generally want their children to play the same way they did, when they were little, and experience the same things – spending time outside, running around with friends, playing with wooden toys and developing their imagination and creativity by making up characters and fantastic stories. These wishes are far from reality, and most likely will rarely happen again, because now many play online games. Played from an early age, these kinds of colorful and immersive games can develop into an addiction.
Strategies against game addiction and how to control it seem to be easy in theory, but putting them in practice is a bit harder. Here are some quick tips that can help facilitate the process and make successful:
- Be observant, limit and reward. If the child’s playing time goes beyond leisure activities and especially impacts school work, while the mood starts to swing more than usual, it may be a warning sign of an onset of addiction. Then it is important to set clear limits on the play time and monitor gaming. Instead, let the game be a reward, for example one hour, when leisure activities and school work are settled for the day. Determine the time-limit in advance, and even if it there is only a little while left, the child is prepared for it.
- Have overview and transparency. Set the computer at such an angle, so that you can overlook the game, especially when there are small children, as then it’s easier to set limits and talk about the game. The older the child becomes, the more influence he should have on the rules, but it’s still your job as a parent to have the last word. The younger the child is, when you set the limits, the easier it becomes when the child is a teenager. Keep track of the PEGI tag on game boxes and follow it. Let the child play games that are intended for their own age group, even if the child is mature for his age. Select and encourage sporting games instead of violent and bloody ones.
- Be alone and play with the child. Go with the neighbors or other parents, to where the children are hanging around, and see if you can set up common rules together. It will make it easier to sell arguments for limited play time to the children. Also take the chance to play with your kids yourself. This allows you to gain more insight into the games and learn what the child likes. However, always keep an eye on your child’s emotional well-being when playing.
One way to make children spend less time in front of a computer and away from video games is to offer something that interests or attracts the child; if it doesn’t work out, use chores, for example, homework must be done first, before playing games. If the child has an interest that really fires him up, encourage more activity in that area, and support him. If the kids are small, you can practice common activities, such as excursions or going to the movies with the family. It will give you great memories in the long run and provide a warm family environment. The most important thing is to build the child’s self-esteem, which will allow him to try new things later in life, and he will be better equipped to deal with things like this later in life.