Parents, I must be real with you about a problem I’m seeing come up more and more with the young men I counsel: video game addiction.
I know this is a challenging topic right now. Parents have so much on their plates at the moment. Just paying rent on time and keeping food on the table can be a struggle for some. And many of you are also juggling remote schooling your kids, too. Sports and extracurricular activities are canceled, and kids are trapped inside with nothing to do. There is a level of guilt that has made parents give in to some of their kids’ screen time demands. Because of this pandemic, parents feel like there are limited options to keep their kids happy and entertained. So, the best way to keep them occupied is to let them play video games, right?
I’m afraid not.
I’ve worked with kids who are truly addicted to playing video games. They feel cravings and withdrawals, just like any other addict. They stay up all night playing video games and sleep right through their morning classes. Or they zone out in front of the computer like zombies, not paying attention because they’re sleep-deprived. The result is these students are falling further and further behind in school, AND their relationships are also suffering.
I work with these young men on setting goals and boundaries for themselves. As a parent, you can work with your children on something similar. These include:
Only playing on weekends or during holidays.
Setting a time limit when they play.
Finding other ways to occupy their time
Setting a healthy sleep schedule.
But as a parent, you need to be there supporting your kids. You can’t expect them to follow through on their own. If their goal is not to play on school nights, hold them accountable for that. The extra effort is worth it because you’re setting your child up for success in the long run.
So, your child has a video game addiction. What are you going to do about it? Let them grow up into an addicted adult? Or help them get over it?