We’re not saying this can’t happen, it can, but for most people it won’t be the case. Most will be able to enjoy gaming, but still live their lives.
Addiction is a compulsion to use a substance or continue a behaviour that makes you feel good or stops you feeling bad.
Gaming can suspend real-world problems and anxieties and are created to excite and engage. So from this perspective it’s possible to become psychologically dependent on them.
Some addictions are severe, but patterns and behaviours don’t have to be in order for someone to be considered addicted.
If gaming is starting to interfere with everyday life then a young person could be considered to be addicted.
Some things to look out for:
Do note that someone could be experiencing these issues without being addicted to gaming. They could be symptoms of something else.
Communicate your concerns in as open and frank a way as possible. Avoid being judgemental as this could alienate them.
Let your son/daughter know you’re not judging and you’re there for them. This may make it easier for them to open up.
Set allocated time or limits for gaming with repercussions for not following through with the agreement.
Making your son/daughter a part of the decision-making process regarding restrictions can encourage a sense of responsibility. It might make it easier for them to stay within the set boundaries.
Stopping video-games altogether might not be an option. But, you may be able to encourage your son/daughter to also spend time doing other things.
Soccer, the cinema, hanging out with friends, it doesn’t really matter what they do. Maybe try and encourage them to join in with regular family meals and events.
If they aren’t ready to see it as a problem, don’t despair.
Do try and make sure they’re looking after themselves and are staying fit and healthy. Be as supportive as possible while still being clear you think there’s an issue.
Discussing concerns and offering advice might not be easy, especially if your son/daughter is older, but it could still be worth starting dialogue around the issue.