Playing games on cell phones, computers, or tablets can be done by children for entertainment purposes. They usually do this to fulfill their free time. Not only that, it is also useful to sharpen the skills of children in solving problems, train leadership skills, and broaden their horizons.
Read also: Some Positive Impacts of Video Games for Children
While playing games has advantages, your children can get addicted to video games if you let them play video games too often or as they please. It is clearly bad for their growth and development and their social life. Children who are addicted to playing games tend to have bad behavior, have difficulty socializing, and are prone to feeling lonely. In addition, they are also more at risk of experiencing sleep disorders and obesity.
As a mother or a father, you must know the symptoms of game addiction in children and how to overcome them. Everything can be found below:
Symptoms of Game Addiction in Children
In order for children to avoid game addiction, as a mother or a father, you must be observant of the changes in behavior shown by your children. The following are symptoms of game addiction that you can recognize:
- Spending a lot of time playing games
- Feeling restless when not playing games
- Refusing to play with friends outside the house
- Refusing to do things that they used to like
- Preferring playing video games instead of doing something else
- Getting angry or throwing tantrums when asked to stop playing the game
- Irregular sleep cycles
- Loss of appetite
- Performance in school decreased
- Often complaining about pain in the head, neck, and upper back
- Easily getting offended and angry when socializing, even with parents
- Lying to parents about how much time they spend playing games
- Feeling better by just playing games
This is How to Deal with Children Who Are Addicted to Games
If your children show symptoms of game addiction as above, do something so that they can avoid the bad effects of game addiction. Below are some steps to overcome game addiction in children:
1. Set limits on the time your children play games
If your child is 2-5 years old, allow them to play games for only 1 hour a day. After they turn 6 years older, you can determine the duration of playing games according to what they agree to. For instance, your child can play games for a maximum of 2 hours a day or only on weekends.
As a mother or a father, you need to be firm in setting time limits for your children to play games. Do not forget to teach them to ask permission first before playing the game and ask them to come back to you when they are done playing games.
Read also: Recommended Screen Time by Age: Benefits and Guidelines from WHO
2. Accompany children when playing games
To overcome game addiction in children, it is better for you to accompany them while playing games. Make sure to remind them to stop playing and do other activities when the playtime is over, such as eating or studying.
Apart from that, you can also participate in the games played by your children. The most recommended games are educational games. By participating in the games played by them, they will also be protected from games that have elements of violence and pornography.
3. Ask children to do fun activities
To distract the minds of your children from the game, you can ask them to do other activities that are as fun as playing games, such as drawing or coloring together, cooking together, and gardening in the yard. Besides, you can also take them to exercise.
4. Set consequences if rules are not allowed
Another way to overcome gaming addiction is to set the consequences if your children disobey the rules. However, you must take note that these consequences should not be physical punishment such as hitting or pinching them.
The consequences we are talking about here are good punishments, such as reducing the time to play games, making them watch TV, or so on. By setting up these consequences, they will try their best to obey the rules that have been made as they do not want their playing time to be reduced.
Apart from the consequences, do not forget to also give your children an award if they succeed in following the rules that have been made. Some kinds of awards that you can give them include serving their favorite food or taking them on a trip. Actually, it is actually good for them as it will train their discipline.
It is clearly not easy to overcome game addiction in children. As a mother or a father, you cannot just confiscate their games forever and hope that the addiction will be gone. The reason why you cannot do it is because it will have a bad impact on their mental health.
As a parent, it is important for you to know the symptoms and apply these steps mentioned above if you want to overcome game addiction in children. If you have a hard time handling it, do not hesitate to take your children to a psychologist or psychiatrist so that they can get further treatment.