Parallel with the daily increase of technological developments, time spent on technology also increases. The most well-known of them are video games which are played both by children and adults.
The game production companies are experts in making people addicted. Children are more prone to this danger and they are getting more and more addicted to these games day by day.
According to Douglas Gentile’s study on addiction to video games with
people between the age of 8 and 18, %8.5 of world’s population show addiction to video games. In a randomly selected sample group of 1,178 American youth aged from 8 to 18, about 8% of video-game players exhibited pathological patterns of play.
The fact that there are so many people playing video games first raises the question of why they play so much. Actually, people can play video games for many reasons.
They play video games in order to relax and to escape from the daily concerns. While playing, they can feel like they are in a different world and move away from the stress they experience.
In other words, people can escape reality through video games. They reflect their emotional state to the character in the video game easily as they do not get hurt in the game.
They can also experience competence and autonomy thanks to video games. Through games, people can easily adapt to the flow of the game so they find themselves in a race. As there is no reality in this race, they may want to prove themselves and perform well.
Why Is It Harmful to Play a Video Game Long Hours?
According to Rooij A.J., Schoenmakers T. M., Vermulst A. A., Eijnden R.J.J.M. and Mheen D.(2011), it is likely to have various psychological and social problems, as game overuse can be severely disruptive to school, work and ‘real-life’ social contacts.
In addition, when children spend too much time playing video games, their connections with the outside world get weaker. Children’s interactions in social environments such as family, friends, and siblings are affected negatively in many ways.
For example, children who play video games extremely can be emotionally confined. It can be named as ‘flight from reality’ which is associated with negative self-esteem, depressive mood, social anxiety and/or loneliness (Rooij A.J., Schoenmakers T. M., Vermulst A. A., Eijnden R.J.J.M. and Mheen D., 2011).
At the same time, it can physically cause many ailments. For example, many disorders in joints can occur in children due to posture disorders. In addition, looking at the screen for a long time also threatens eye health and causes vision problems.
How Do I Keep My Child from Being Addicted to Video Games?
Here are 5 tips how to keep your child away from video game addiction.
1) Identify the Specific Rules to Play Video Games
Playing a video game can be a fun time-consuming activity for all children. But what is important here is that you should pay attention to the time period your child is playing.
You should talk about this with your child in certain time intervals. For example, the time allocated to play games can be 1 hour during the school days
However, for a child who is addicted to a video game, it would be very difficult to put such a restriction at first. As this child has an ongoing habit, it will take time to change it so applying these rules may not always be easy.
Your child may cry or overreact in order
For example, if your child has finished his/her time for video games that day, your giving extra time to him/ her to play video games after doing homework will disrupt your child’s routine.
2) Teach Your Child to Endure the Consequences
The rules imposed by the family must have a sanction on children. Children should know that they must obey the rules and act accordingly. If families put rules and the child does not obey these rules,
In order to eliminate this disorder of authority, it is important that the rules you have set are certain. For example, you may have set a no game rule
after 10 pm but your child may want to play at this time for a while.
What you need to do is to talk to your child with patience. Instead of being angry and shouting, tell your child that you set a rule and these rules are important. It should be explained to the child why the rules are important and why it is necessary.
No one wants to do something that he/she doesn’t know why he/she should do it. We are the children’s guide and their supporters. Therefore, we are the ones who will guide them to the right and the good when they behave
As a result, strict sanctions should be applied if the child does not display the desired behavior. These sanctions should be discussed with the child at first and they should be decided on together.
For example, you should explain that playing video games for long hours is harmful to your child’s physical health. Then, you can say that you should reduce the 1-hour of time to watch television after school to half an hour. Please note that talking is the best communication method.
3) Provide Your Child with a Social Gaming Environment
Another way to reduce video game addiction is to offer your child a social gaming environment. In many families, most of the children spend most of their days at home.
People who are extremely dependent on their children cannot provide this social environment to them. However, the social and emotional development of children should be taken into account when supporting children.
For this reason, as we have always mentioned, children’s active communication skills need to be improved. The best environment to provide this is the one with their friends and peers.
You should leave your children in their natural environment. The best learning is learning through natural means. You can allow them to notice themselves and to realize their environment. We must contribute to the cultivation of generations learning by doing and living.
Providing this environment can be very difficult especially for children who are addicted to a video game. Your child may not want to spend time in different environments and with different children. What’s more, he/she may even stay at home and play a video game all the time.
You can go step-by-step to save your child from these habits.
Although I’m sure it’s the hardest step, by taking him/her to a park or a playground you can help your child make friends.
Your child may not want to enter the house after leaving the house. It is very important to go out first, to take the first step. You need to achieve this for yourself and your child so that you can change your way of living.
You can also spend time with your child’s friends from school or their families with children around you in the neighborhood. You can arrange meetings at home and allow your child to attend these meetings.
In these settings, your child can interact with their peers. At the same time, you can meet different people and enhance your social environment.
You can also offer alternative games to your children instead of playing video games for long hours. For example, you can play games such as Sudoku, puzzle, or chess with your child.
These games will be very easy to reach and will be enjoyable to learn. Through them, your child can avoid playing video games for long hours while also contributing to their social, emotional and physical development.
4) Slowly Reduce Your Child’s Playing Time
For a child addicted to a video game, it will be very difficult to turn off it. However, you need to support your child every day by specifying a time zone and telling him/her that at the end that period he/she must finish the game and turn off the TV.
You can make little reminders to him/her when the time is over. For example, if you have allowed your child to play a video game for 3 hours on weekdays you can remind him/her to turn it off 1 hour
In this way, the small reminders will make it easier to turn off the television and make your child turn it into a habit. After that, you can decrease 3 hours of playing time to 2.5 hours. It can help you to keep a calendar for it.
For example, if your child played video games for 3 hours for 10 days, note it in the calendar. You can prepare it alone or with your child. Also, you should keep it somewhere your child can
In this way, your child sees this stability and can see that he/she can achieve the ability to reduce the duration of playing video games. Instead of completely banning playing video games, making small changes in this way will work more efficiently.
Moreover, it is very important to speak to your child during the process. You have to tell him/her why you do it and the negative results of playing video games.
However, you need to pay attention to the language you use. For example, you should not say
Instead, you can say that “I know how much you love playing video games but you shouldn’t neglect to do other things while playing video games. We can reduce the time for playing video games by half an hour.”
5) Have Your Child Play Somewhere You Can See
Finally, you should observe your child while playing the video game. Wherever your child plays video game either on television or computer, you should be with him/her. What he/she plays is as important as how much your child plays it.
In addition, playing in the common living area will also reduce your child’s desire to play. Your child can also shorten playing time when there are too many disturbing elements around him/her. This allows you to increase the likelihood that your child will follow the rules.
A child’s freedom to play in his/her room will give him/her freedom. There will be no adult intervention in the games he/she plays in his/her room. Therefore, you should keep your child in view.
You can also play games with your child which can help you to spend quality time together and also to observe the games your child plays. You can support your child by being next to him instead of leaving him alone with the video game as it makes him/her feel valued.
To Sum Up
Playing video games for long hours affects the development of individuals in many ways. In children, it causes many problems such as mental diseases.
Video game addiction is not yet recognized as a formal psychiatric diagnosis, but it is listed as a condition for further study in the recently published fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
It is quite possible, in a very near future, this addiction will be seen as a serious threat to mental and physical health by the
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