Somewhere between wooden toys and online games, childhood completely changed.
Today, we see kids as young as 3 years of age glued to phone screens, either watching YouTube videos or playing games. While it is good to see that technology is intuitive enough for kids to get used to it, but too much of anything is dangerous. Video games top this list.
As technology advances and the availability of games increases, the potential for video game addiction also increases. It is important to recognise early signs of addiction in kids to be able to take steps accordingly.
Gaming addiction symptoms
Below are a few signs you should watch out for:
- A sudden drop in academic performance
- Social isolation
- Physical health problems
- Complaints of headaches and soreness in the neck/back
- Red eyes
- Negative and aggressive responses when asked to stop playing
- Disruption in daily routines such as eating, sleeping, doing homework, and playing outside.
Video game addiction treatment
It is impossible to keep children away from video games because technology is taking over faster than ever imagined, and kids will miss out if we cut them off completely. Instead, we recommend that you follow these tips:
Create a schedule for game time right from day 1. The moment your kid starts showing interest in games, come up with game time so that it is not hard to adopt later. You can also put restrictions such as “one hour of game time only after completing their homework.”
Please note that it is also important to speak to your child about the downsides of playing for hours at a stretch. Honest conversations are often very impactful.
Encourage Other Activities
If your child has other activities to engage in, it will automatically reduce their interest in video games. Encourage them to participate in physical activities, such as sports or outdoor play, and creative activities, such as art or music. By providing alternative activities, you can also help your child develop a well-rounded set of interests.
Monitor Game Content
Not all games are created equal, and some may contain violent or inappropriate content. Be sure to check the game’s rating before allowing your child to play it. Additionally, it’s a good idea to play the games with your child so that you can see first-hand what they are exposed to. This will also be a bonding opportunity as a family, and your child will be more open to listening to you about timelines when they know you love the game as well.
Limit Screen Time
Limiting your child’s overall screen time can also help prevent video game addiction. This includes not only video games but also other devices such as smartphones and tablets. By setting limits, you can teach your child to divide screen time between games, videos, research, and learning.
Create a Safe Gaming Environment
This can include setting up the gaming system in a common area of the home so that you can monitor your child’s play. Additionally, it’s important to have an open dialogue with your child about the games they are playing and any concerns you may have. As aforementioned, being open goes a long way!
Gaming addiction symptoms are usually quite obvious. Keep an eye on the first signs and try taking steps to put a full stop immediately. The tips we outlined work like a charm, and we encourage you to try them.
At Kiran International School, we offer a well-rounded curriculum that includes sports and other physical activities to nurture creativity, imagination, and growth. These activities promote a well-rounded lifestyle not just at school but also at home. For more information, please visit our website.