Video games are a large part of today's culture, especially for teenagers and young adults. Many use video games as a way to socialize and relieve stress. Sometimes, though, parents become concerned about their teen's video game usage, especially if gaming leads to their teen ignoring basic personal needs or becoming socially isolated. If you worry about your teen's gaming, you can take steps to try to help her limit herself and build a social network.
1 Set limits on the time your teen spends gaming. If he games on a computer, purchase parental control software that allows you to set a schedule for when he can and can't access the computer. If he uses a gaming system, set rules where he is only allowed to have the controller at certain times or after he finishes actions such as practicing a hobby or spending time with the family.
2 Help your teen explore other hobbies and activities she enjoys other than gaming. Look together with your teen for classes or sports and work with her to get her signed up and help her attend regularly.
3 Work with your teenager to help him make new friends. This goes hand in hand with joining new activities; if he finds activities he enjoys other than gaming, he will also be exposed to other teens who enjoy the same activities. If needed, help him get to and from visits with friends and make your home welcoming so he can invite his friends over.
4 Spend quality time as a family with no electronics for a period of time each day. For example, ban electronics from the dinner table and spend this time talking about topics other than gaming.
5 Set a healthy example by being more active and social. Set limits on your own usage of electronics, such as computers or cell phones.
6 Encourage your teen to get a job to get out of the house more and around other people. Even a part-time job limits on the overall time that a teen has to spend playing video games.
Items you will need
- Parental control software
- Explain your concerns to your teen and let her know that you don't want to control her or change who she is as a person, but you want to make sure that she is living a full, healthy life.
- Avoid arguing with your teen about gaming an do not make gaming completely off-limits. One to two hours a day of gaming is acceptable as long as your teen is taking care of his basic needs and accomplishing other tasks each day.
- Warning signs of anxiety include excessive worrying, panic attacks, headaches, stomach aches, fear of public speaking and avoiding social situations. If you suspect your teen is anxious or depressed, speak to her about how she is feeling and seek professional help. Seeing a counselor regularly can give teens a positive relationship outside of the family and help them to overcome emotional obstacles in their lives.
- Signs of gaming addiction include ignoring basic needs like hunger and thirst in exchange for gaming, talking only about video games, becoming hostile when not able to play games, playing for extended periods of time and putting games before friendships, family and school. If you feel that your teen may have a gaming addiction, consult a doctor or psychologist to help your teen with recovery.
- Teens Health: Are Video Games Good for the Mind?
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Video Gaming can Lead to Mental Health Problems
- Teens Health: Anxiety Disorders
- Seattle Children's Hospital Research Foundation: Can Teens Get Addicted to Online Games?
- Pediatric Clinics of North America: Children, Adolescents and the Media
- Cornell University: Games and Children’s Brains : What Is the Latest Research?
- National Academic Advising Association: Gamer Addiction
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