Where’s Johnny? Just check the computer and the lost is found! Online video game addiction is fast becoming the norm. Hours are lost in front of the computer. Social interaction disappears. Kids get annoyed or angry when their online game is interrupted, even for dinner. What are parents to do?
First, check out the signs. Some possible symptoms that may give you a clue that your child is headed toward online video game addiction:
• Forgets to eat
• Plays online video games instead of doing homework
• Sleep deprivation
• No social interaction
• Lack of physical exercise
• Lack of personal hygiene
Do any of these sound familiar? How are your child’s grades at school? Does your child forget to interact with friends and family members? Is exercise a forgotten subject? Does your child rub their eyes and complain of soreness? Is a shower skipped for extra time on that online video game? Would your child rather skip dinner and snack later so more time is available for gaming?
If the answer to any of these is yes, then you must step up and get involved with your kids! Even though addiction to online video gaming has not been officially declared a disorder, the signs are in front of our eyes. Online video gaming is being compared to gambling. Playing produces a high because endorphins are being produced and released by the brain. In online video games, the children are in control. Why would they want to go back to the real world and relinquish control and be just a kid that has to follow rules? Parents need to be assertive and turn off their children’s computers! Set priorities so kids know what’s expected of them. Discipline plays a key role. Set time parameters for online games. Let your kids know that homework comes first; dinner is served at 6 p.m. and lights are out at 10 p.m. Take charge before it’s too late!
Online video game addiction can be serious and methods to help that addiction are popping up fast. Some include therapy with a counselor or following steps in a self-help book on online video game addiction. One method even suggests sending your child to summer or wilderness camp to promote exercise and a change of environment.
Parents, it’s up to you to help your children. Recognize the signs and symptoms of online video game addiction. Take the steps now to correct the disorder. Engage your child. Set up a regimen and see that it’s followed. Bring your child back into the real world and help them appreciate its beauty.