Every homeschooling parent knows that there are real benefits to technology in homeschooling. Many technology-based lessons include games that are designed to keep kids’ attention and require a great deal less parental participation—great for those days when you need to get something else done while they’re doing their schoolwork, or for times when you need to juggle multiple children working on different subjects at the same time.
But what about when your child wants to do nothing but game-based lessons? Or worse, what about when your child spends school time sneaking off to play games, or rushes through schoolwork to be able to play games sooner? What about when video games become so all-consuming that they are the most critical thing in your child’s world, and any deviation from video game activity becomes a major battle?
Some of this, of course, is normal. Children would always rather play than complete schoolwork. That much, every parent knows. Convincing them to pay attention to their lessons is often much like trying to herd a cat through an obstacle course with no discernible reward on the other side. Getting a homeschooled child through an entire day of lessons without a complaint is often nothing shy of miraculous.
On the other hand, there comes a point where video games become more all-consuming even than that. Your child would rather play video games than anything else, including playing outside or playing with their friends. Their video game time is so sacred that even a much-anticipated activity isn’t worth losing time in front of the screen. They are sneaky about playing, creeping off to play games even when they’re supposed to be doing regular schoolwork.
Unfortunately, video games are designed to be addictive. Even simple Facebook games like Farmville are designed specifically to be as attractive as possible. Game designers want people to keep playing their games, to buy the next game, and to buy additional content whenever it’s made available. Children are particularly susceptible to this addiction because their developing minds are more sensitive to it.
Luckily, there are steps that can be taken to prevent or at least minimize video game addiction, even once it has already started.