If you are the parent of an adolescent who has a video game or Internet addiction, you have quite the challenge on your hands. It was only a decade or so ago when kids came home from school and immediately went outside to play with their friends on the block. Nowadays, kids rush right off of the school bus to head to their bedrooms or the living room and stare into the screen. Instead of playing sports and enjoying outdoor activities with their neighborhood pals, they are playing against them in online games. While this is common behavior for adolescents, it becomes a problem when they develop an addiction.
Don’t let your child’s video game or Internet addiction go un-checked. It is your responsibility as a parent to help your kids during this time of need. Unfortunately, it is often hard for parents to relate to today’s screen-addicted kids. Parents didn’t grow up with this type of technology and many don’t understand what it’s all about and how it works. So take some time to look into the games and websites that your child enjoys before you sit down to talk with him about his addiction. If you have a good understanding of what these games are all about, you’ll be able to effectively communicate with your child about this sensitive topic.
Can It Be as Serious as Drug and Alcohol Addiction?
While it might sound a bit silly to group video game and Internet addictions with alcohol, cigarette and drug addictions, the association is appropriate. Kids who are hooked on gaming and the web are caught in a vice-like grip that is hard to loosen. You must recognize that breaking such an addiction may be perceived by some as being just as difficult as recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction. Video game addiction has become such a problem that there are actually halfway houses devoted to treating game addicts. Do some research on these halfway houses and video game addiction and keep this information in mind when you speak to your child about their addiction. they might not take the addiction seriously until they understands that society really does recognize video game and Internet addiction as an overarching problem that afflicts millions of other people, especially children and teens.
When you speak with your child about this addiction, give them time to talk. Listen closely to what they say so that you can better understand their perspective. If you can analyze your child’s state of mind, you’ll improve your chances of developing appropriate solutions. One of the most important points of emphasis during your conversation should be your child’s lack of face-to-face human companionship. Ask if they miss socializing with friends like they used to do when they were younger. If your child responds that they are all playing games as well, tell the child to seek out new friends with diverse interests. Explain to them that there are many teens and young adults who regret spending their youth staring into screens for video games and Internet surfing. They wish that they spent that time developing meaningful human relationships with friends, family and a significant other. Look for a support group in your area they can reach out to real life experiences from other teens.
Diversifying a Child’s Interests
Ask your child if they would like to join any local sports leagues or participate in extracurricular activities after school. Maybe your child would like to pick up a new hobby. If they reject these ideas, it is time to take action. Instead of putting your foot down and banning video games and web surfing, you should limit the amount of time that your child is allowed to spend on screens. If they throw a tantrum and won’t abide by the limitations you’ve set, it might be time to ask for help in the form of professional treatment.