It is often hard for parents to understand the world that their kids live in today, as it is incredibly different from the one that they lived in during their teenage years. Technology has advanced at an alarming rate, to the point where the majority of households containing teenage kids have at least on computer and one gaming system. It’s nice to be able to give your kids the things that you didn’t have as a child, but at what point does it start to become a problem? That usually happens when kids decide that being online or playing video games is the most important part of their life.
The problem with recognizing the signs of addiction is that it can start very subtly. Teenage kids will often spend a lot of time on their own, which is often nothing more than them trying to gain a little privacy in their lives. That is a normal part of growing up in the teenage years, but it’s what they do with that time alone that can become the issue. If they are spending more than 3 or 4 hours per day tucked away doing nothing but playing video games or watching YouTube videos, they could well be starting to build an addiction that is tough to break free from.
Many parents don’t understand that there is a real problem until they are informed that the grades being achieved by their teenager at school are starting to slip, or their teenager is not able to concentrate on their work because they are so used to the fast paced world of video games.
Another big sign of possible gaming addiction is when all normal social activity grinds to a halt. If you were used to seeing friends come over and visit on a regular basis, and now notice that they don’t come at all, that could be a problem. Even of those friends are still visiting, what is it the kids are doing? Are they taking up all their time with either playing or talking about video games? If so, that’s a problem. Worse is when they are all sitting next to each other on their video games and not even talking.
It is tough for kids nowadays, as many of the games that are out there have a social aspect to them and to be accepted at school, they have to know about the video games to fit into the conversation that their friends are having. You can network with people all over the world in order to solve missions within the games. It seems like a fun pastime, but teens can be drawn into a world that isn’t real. The people that they play with online soon become their “friends,” often at the expense of the flesh and blood friends who live next door.
Breaking a child out of a gaming addiction can be tough, and it’s not as simple as taking their hardware away from them. It’s not like drugs that they can go to drug rehab. Their entire social world is tied to it and therefore it is much more complex than a drug addiction.
When you try to do something about it, you can potentially be viewed as the bad guy in that situation, as they will see you as the person taking away the one thing they really love and the one thing that connects them to their friends. If you are caught in a situation that you don’t know how to resolve, talking to a professional therapist can help, especially if they have experience in dealing with teenagers. Gaming addiction in teenagers is becoming more and more prevalent, and therapists are now better equipped than ever before to help you solve the problem. If you are looking for therapy in Long Beach for your teenager who is addicted to gaming, please call me to set up an appointment. I can either meet with you to help you develop a plan to reduce the amount of time on gaming or I can meet with your child to help them understand how to balance their gaming with other positive things in life.