It's a clinical impulse control disorder,
Is it really so bad?
Seemingly harmless at first, parents may enjoy their child playing internet or video games because it keeps them home and safe. It's fun; it enables children a short escape the real world. The fantasy virtual world may be more exciting to children than the mundane day to day. Adults can suffer from gaming addiction as well, as we've often seen on Facebook with friends posting scores and sending annoying invites to anyone who will take them. In moderation it isn't a terrible thing --we all need a break from reality time to time. But when is it an actual addiction, and as parents, when should we worry if our child has a gaming addiction?
The answer is fairly simple: If your child feels they need to play internet or video games, and if they get angry or irritable because they can't, it could be an addiction.
The harm is that children need human interaction to develop good social skills. They lose out on activity required to keep their bodies healthy and strong. They may fall behind in school because homework is left undone. One HealthDay report, posted on USNews Health, links gaming addiction to depression and anxiety.
So what can parents do to end a child's gaming addiction?
- Take away the games.
- Spend quality time with them.
- Show how gaming addiction has done more harm that good in their lives, and help them work through it.
- For heavy gaming addiction, more mature children may need to be in a program similar to the 12-steps used by other addicts, and face their powerlessness over addiction.
Parents can suffer gaming and internet addiction as well.
Click here to go to a Parent-Child Internet Addiction Test.