Hold up… don’t go all wackadoodle on us.
You think Epic Games has a master plan to take over the world? It’s not like we’re building soldiers for them in our own living rooms.
At least I’m pretty sure we’re not.
If you have a child from the ages of seven and beyond, chances are, you know exactly what Fortnite is. You might’ve even played it yourself. This video game has taken the world by storm, targeting people of all ages and genders to be the last one standing in a game of… killing each other.
You might think video games are harmless, or you might be totally against video games. Either or, there are important boundaries we need to set for our children.
Is gaming an addiction?
Researchers are providing more and more information stating that video game addiction is a modern-day psychological disorder. As a result, this should be taken very seriously by parents. In order for something to be addictive, the person needs more and more of the activity to keep him going and if the person does not get the engagement they need, he becomes irritable or angry. Just like gambling, drugs and yes we’ll say it, porn, the activity of video gaming itself is addictive.
The Good the Bad and the Ugly
I’m not here to bash video games, not all games are bad and not all kids are addicted to playing them. I must say, there are very cool aspects of gaming that help me to understand why my children love to play video games. For instance, video games allow kids from right next door to all the way around the world, to play with each other. It’s a high-tech portal that gives our children the chance to work with others and even encourages team building skills.
BUT TIME OUT.
Let’s just remember why, in some of these games, they are “team building.”
Did ya read Hunger Games? If not, here’s the short: Gather your forces to take down the masses. Once you’ve gotten that under control slowly start picking off your forces. Folks, In the end, the last one standing is the winner. In the end, you kill your teammates.
How’s that for team building skills? Just sayin’.
Whether it’s animated or realistic, it’s all the same and it all affects the brain of a child. While the games may not actually cause your child to take part in violent crimes, they can and will begin to portray signs of aggression or hostility.
Is it Time to Shut the Gaming Down?
Cutting games off completely might not be the answer for your family. There’s no reason to isolate our children from an activity that can be positive. Instead, take into consideration the age guidelines. Get a real understanding of the games they are playing and ask yourself what the game teaches. Go as far as grabbing the controller and making your own account.
Sometimes our children want to play games that are not age-appropriate. Stick to these age guidelines.
Innocence, my friend, is a beautiful thing.
One of the most fearful aspects of gaming: parents have no control over who their child is meeting. You never know what your child is revealing about themselves to someone they think they can trust through a video game.
So how long should our children play video games? A study from Oxford University states that an hour a day should be the limit for our children. The study found that children who play an hour or less of video games a day were more social and satisfied with life. Those who exceeded the strict one-hour rule lost all positive effects of gaming.
How do I know if my kid is addicted to video games?
There are children who can play hours of video games and not be psychologically addicted. They are able to take it or leave it, but if it’s there, they indulge. There are also children who are addicted to video games and even the smallest amount of gaming time is enough to trigger the addiction. If your child is constantly thinking about video games or if it’s consuming their life, that is an addiction.
So how do I know if my child is being consumed by video games? Your child may be addicted to video games if they portray the following:
- Conversing about their video games whenever they get the chance
- Playing for hours upon hours
- Defensive behavior when bringing up video game addiction
- Getting angry or irritable when told to stop playing
- Sacrificing necessities like food and sleep in order to play longer
- Playing in secret when parents are away or sleeping
- Lonely, depressed, or distracted behavior
If your child has been diagnosed with Asperger’s, OCD or any other kind of developmental disorder, please pay very close attention to how they react as it can be exponential in these cases.
If your child has a video game addiction, it’s time to take action. Even if they don’t want to get “clean” of gaming, it’s better that they learn to let go sooner than later. Create boundaries for your child, and most of all, communicate. Get outside help from a family therapist if you need it. If you are a two household family, work hard to get on the same page with the boundaries in both homes. THIS IS CRUCIAL. Also, don’t shame them or make them feel guilty for falling into the trap. After all, gaming is fun and it’s easy to become addicted. But as parents, we have the responsibility to make sure our kids are mentally stable and happy. Let’s start with gaming.
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