The Dangers Of Gaming Addiction: Notes To Parents
What is Gaming Addiction
Gaming addiction is a new phenomenon these days with most teenagers and indeed adults having more than one device and being connected to the internet almost anywhere 24 hours a day. In most European countries greater restrictions have been put on TV advertising being aimed at teenagers but until these come into force in the UK it seems gambling is the new ‘in thing’ to be doing, whether it’s putting a bet on the football results or now programs like the X Factor or even what their favorite celebrities baby name will be. Also in recent times all the old favorite ‘Las Vegas’ games are now online and deemed fashionable. Bingo games have also seen a comeback especially with females and also being ‘sold to us’ as social networking not just to play games. Game technology has also come a long way and now it’s not unusual to see people queuing overnight for their new favorite game to come out and be one of the first to get it. Again TV advertising glamorizes it and most of them even look like a Hollywood movie not a game! Mobile games have a lot of hidden T & C’s, even your child just downloading a new game can bring with it expensive mobile costs for automatic memberships to renewals and contracts.
THIS IS NOT MEANT TO SCARE YOU, JUST LET THE INFORMATION HERE SERVE AS A WARNING TO WHAT IS AVAILABLE.
Solution to Gaming Addiction
If your child or teenager spends a lot of time in their bedroom you really have no idea what they are doing, it is a good idea to make them use the social areas of your home available for them for internet use instead and take the computers out of their rooms, also most internet providers now have an allotted time you can program when the internet will be switched off and a password is needed to get back online. They need to learn that only certain times are ‘computer times’ and then hopefully they will use their time better to speak to friends, rather than play addictive games and have time to find gambling sites. Don’t make it a punishment where if you’re not online you have to do household chores, rather make the best of what they are interested in like sport, drawing, painting, photography even cooking and gardening. Maybe suggest they re decorate their bedrooms, or get them involved in one of your own work projects.
Help from Professionals
Addiction not only to gaming and gambling is hard to spot, if you feel they are getting edgy and are making a lot of excuses to get back online to play their games you really do need to seek help from professionals experienced in game addiction and gambling.
What is Addiction
Addiction by definition means that a person is unable to control their behavior, you need to set some clear boundaries to your child and point out exactly what gaming addiction and gambling addiction is and what the outcome could be when it all goes wrong.
Make a Time Table
Just be honest and express your concerns and try to set up a time table of when your child plays these games and has access to the internet and try to make it the same time scale of them doing other past times outside.
We all know what it’s like to be ‘addicted’ to your box set. Just one more before bed, or even when we were young, we wanted to get one stage done for Donkey Kong before bed time, but these days the new games children and indeed adults play and are available are so easy to get easily immersed in them. If you feel like your child gets angry or are acts badly to you telling them it’s enough for one day it might have progressed further than you think. It won’t be easy and a battle of wills will surely follow, don’t take it away from them totally but you need to make it clear that only certain times of the day will be allowed for online games.
Beware of Paid Games
Please be aware what games they are also playing, a lot of adults have unexpected bills for hundreds and hundreds of pounds for games their children have downloaded which come with automatic renewals for memberships and unlimited ‘top ups’
Actual gambling sites should ask for photographic ID to be confirmed first to make sure that everyone who plays is over 18 years old, but sadly there are some foreign sites that are purely around to just be a cash cow and don’t care who they take money from.
Addiction counselors are available for children with addiction to gaming and will help your child talk through the problem, that you feel you can’t explain to them.