Children

Common questions about your children and gaming addiction:
  • What can I do about children with a gaming addiction?
  • Why are kids more likely to be addicted to video games than adults?
  • Why are one or more of my children suffering from a video gaming addiction?
  • Should I get treatment for my children and their gaming addiction?

Answers:

We have received gaming addiction stories about gamers playing for over 20 hours at a time and in almost every case it is a young man under 25 years of age.  One recent study at Stanford showed that men tend to have more brain activity while playing video games but does this mean that children every will be addicted to games?  It clearly does not and most children do not suffer from a gaming addiction.

Still, we have several answers for these questions for you concerning your children and their gaming addiction.  First, the average age for gamers is actually around 30 years of age.  However, the largest demographic of gamers is young men and many of these are children.  Why?  M
en tend to biologically be of a warrior ethos characterized by being macho or showing bravado.  Video games provide the perfect place to "be a man" which is particularly attractive to single men and children.

Perhaps more importantly, for your children at home and school, they are not likely to be the boss and have respect from many people at the point they are at in life.  At the same time, online your children can feel like giants with a high level character that dominates "casual" players and even adults in their game.  For many of you with children addicted to games, playing video games and using the Internet is the best way to feel important and powerful (which they likely do not in their personal life) and to escape reality for children.  Many parents have tried everything from physically cutting the cable to canceling accounts and treatment but the child continues to still want to play the video games for several hours daily. Understanding that excessive gaming is usually the physical manifestation of other emotional problems in children can help a parent to know what is going on with their child's gaming addiction rather than fighting with them about the games they play.  The best approach may be to try to understand what is being avoided, suppressed, or enabled by children with gaming addiction instead of simply providing them negative attention every time they are playing a game.  This is similar to other addictions but the main difference is the second possibility: playing games is simply fun and there is nothing else as fun as getting online and playing for children. The key difference is that, like introducing any new technology from television to the printing press and wider availability of novels to read (some kids no doubt had "reading addictions" that prevented them from doing well in school or playing outside), people take a while to adapt and use exciting new parts of life and that children tend to be the most responsive to new technologies.

The moral of the story is that THERE IS NO MAGIC RECIPE ANYWHERE for getting children to quit their gaming addiction but there are ways you can understand why.  To this end, this will help you deal with a child that has a gaming addiction. Some of the most comprehensive self-help resources for helping a child with gaming addiction are found on our books page here.  We also have videos for parents with gaming addicted children specifically to help you understand the important points of children and gaming addiction.
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