Decades ago sitting for hours in front of a TV or laptop playing games alone or with others would have seemed strange. But when you look around today, it’s never far-fetched.
The development of technology has made so many things possible, and while we enjoy most of them, the video game aspect can drive you crazy as parents.
If your child seems obsessed with playing video games over homework and maybe other areas of his/her life, don’t panic. In fact, the don’ts in this situation include not panicking, not responding with threats, or nagging.
We are about to walk you through why kids get obsessed with video games, why this may be a problem, and how to handle it.
The funny thing is you might start out answering each question with elaborate answers and enthusiasm but as they go on and on with no sign of stopping your response can go from few words to shutting down the line of questioning.
It’s exhausting and also one of the most beautiful things about being a parent and watching your child grow.
How often have you solved a problem without knowing its source or the reason for it? Knowing why your child is playing video games at an addictive level can help you handle it effectively.
Your child may play video games so much to escape the difficulty of his/her schoolwork. In this situation, your child has likely found himself trying and failing to achieve good grades or understand what is being taught. This feeling of inadequacy can lead them to turn to video games where they feel a sense of achievement.
Problems with social interactions can also give a child anxiety or cause them to withdraw into gaming as an escape.
Not all of these whys are bad. Your child’s gaming obsession could be a passion. A genuine interest in gaming and how it works may indicate that he would like to pursue a career in the industry later in life.
Also, playing video games instead of doing homework could be your typical teenage behavior/rebellion kicking in.
The important thing is not to assume your child’s reason for engaging tirelessly in video games. Try to have a conversation to discuss this or look out for signs and clues to help you.
What’s Really Wrong With Playing Video Games
Don’t get us wrong, video games are great. When approached correctly, video games offer important benefits for kids such as:
- Improving coordination
- Enhancing memory
- Improving problem-solving skills
- Enhancing multi-tasking skills
- Improving social skills
However, when it’s overdone, playing games and neglecting important activities like schoolwork can have the following bad effects;
- Sleep deprivation in kids which affects learning and attention
- Health problems due to lack of exercise
- Constant obsessive thinking of playing the game
- Social isolation
- Developing dishonesty
- Depression and irritability
How to Handle Your Child's Video Game Obsession
1. Understand that kids must be kids, and video games are fun
The hard truth. Yes, video games are fun and kids are not the only ones at risk of being addicted to it. But kids do love to play and in a time where outdoor play has almost been replaced by games and technology, you can hardly expect less. Understanding this is the first step to correcting your approach to the situation.
2. Work on the reason
If you’ve identified why your child is playing video games and ignoring homework, then you start there. For a child having difficulty with schoolwork, you can get additional help from a tutor. Watch the results and if your child is doing better with his education to know if you’ve made the right choice of tutors.
For a lack of social interaction, encourage your child to meet and play with other kids. Plan visits to friends or places were other kids his age play.
3. Decide how much time is enough time
Rules, rules, rules! When it comes to kids, it’s important to have ground rules. Set a time in which your child is allowed to play video games. This could be on the weekends or a few hours on certain days. There should be consequences for breaking the rules and rewards for keeping them.
Finally, introduce your child to other fun activities like sports, biking, playing an instrument, or reading. Find a platform where education can be fun and simple for your child.