Video Games

Back of gamer's head, with headphonesMuch of the media can lead us to believe video-games create anti-social behaviour. Causing young people especially to become insular and antisocial.

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.

Why is something addictive?

Addiction is a compulsion to use a substance or continue a behaviour that makes you feel good or stops you feeling bad.

  • Physical addiction occurs when a substance affects your body’s chemistry and your body then craves the substance.
  • Psychological addiction is when your brain gets addicted to a feeling that a substance or behaviour creates.

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.

Mild addictions

Some addictions are severe, but patterns and behaviours don’t have to be in order for someone to be considered addicted.

How would I know if my son or daughter is 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:

  • stopping activities or hobbies that they used to enjoy
  • not seeing friends or socialising
  • interfering with regular meal times, sleep or exercise
  • school/college work is starting to slip
  • irritability, anger or anxiety when/if they can’t play.

Do note that someone could be experiencing these issues without being addicted to gaming. They could be symptoms of something else.

What can you do?

Talk to them

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 limits

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.

Encourage other pursuits

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 don’t see a problem

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.

Is it a symptom of something else?

If you think the gaming addiction started as an escape from another problem, then maybe counselling or other supports could be an option?

Help yourself

It’s much easier to handle stressful situations if you’re looking after yourself and minding your own mental health.



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