A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that over 8 percent of children surveyed exhibited signs of video game addiction. Can children actually become addicted to video games?
At this point neither the American Medical Association (AMA) nor the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has come out with a formal statement that creates a diagnosis of video game addiction. But both organizations state that there is definitely the presence of children who over use video games and have a hard time not using them.
So how do we know if our kids are playing too much? Some common sense considerations: first how many hours are your children playing? More than 2 hrs a day is probably too much.
Some other signs include:
Spending most non-school time playing video games.
Falling asleep in school.
Not keeping up with assignments or failing grades
Lying about computer or video game use.
Choosing to use the computer or play video games, rather than see friends.
Irritable when not playing a video game or on the computer.
There are several simple actions to help curb your child's video game behavior:
Use video games as a reward for doing chores, completing homework or accomplishing something special around the house.
Set limits on playing time. No more than 20 minutes a day. Video time can be a substitute for tv time but not in addition to it.
After a period of video game play, your child should take a 'reality break' to interact with you or others in the house.
Invite friends over for your child to play video games with. Whenever possible; choose games that allow two children to play.
Encourage your child to switch over to playing educational-type games on computers.
Video game "addiction" may or may not be a diagnosable disorder; however, children can definitely over use video games. If you stay aware of what and how much your child is playing and keep their video game in proportion to the rest of their activities, then video games can be a fun and safe past time.