Computer Games Present a Delicate Parental Balancing Act

Parents of teens who exhibit signs of active addiction to computer games may find the following discussion very enlightening.

Whether anyone cares to acknowledge it, games can be habit-forming. Virtual game developers employ every possible strategy to capture players’ sustained interest.

How do you identify the point at which your adolescent’s attachment to computer games has become obsessive? Engaging in gaming to the near-exclusion of other ordinary life activities is a clear sign. In such a case, it is very important for parents to prevent rational discussion of the matter from becoming a full-scale battle of wits and verbal insult “contest.”

Many modern teens acquire a high level of skillful debating ability early in life. Thus, their adult custodians must stay completely objective and compliment positive behavior when approaching teens who have become hooked on computer games. Do not allow the discussion to be diverted into a critical comparison of other parents who permit their youngsters to play such games for endless hours.

It is often easy for parents to believe themselves to be wiser than their kids and therefore capable of directing our offspring’s behavior while attempting to overlook our own faults. Do not fall for intuitively appealing arguments that five hours in front of computer game consoles pales in comparison to the amount of time spent on your Blackberry or similar electronic devices.

Prompt intervention prior to displacement of all other important pursuits online gaming is the best strategy. This means establishing firm limits on allowable gaming entertainment and imposing additional restrictions if you observe their health, grades, or social life suffering due to excessive gaming involvement.

Employ “tough love” if you encounter strong resistance to such measures. Do not be swayed by extreme emotional outbursts or physical “tantrums” like running away from home.

Extending effective assistance to a teen addicted to online games depends upon prompt recognition of danger signs that he or she has strayed off the right path. Common symptoms include easy irritability with individuals and ordinary situations and overly impulsive reactions to common scenarios. Upon noticing an undue increase in time spent on gaming-related pursuits, it is definitely “time out” for computer games!

Always substitute alternative wholesale activities for absent gaming time in your child’s life. Rigorous physical exercise is a particularly healthy option. Popular competitive sports like ice skating, hockey, dance, or baseball are perfect replacements. Pursuits that engage the mind such as theater, music, and fine arts are also excellent alternative recreational outlets.