Parenting The Gamer: How To Limit Video Game Addiction In Kids

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Category: Parenting Tips

Kids today have access to games in all shapes and sizes.  Computers, mobile phones, tablets, game consoles, and other technology provides a whole world of electronic entertainment for kids of all ages.  A whole digital world at their fingertips, and kids are finding it hard to put down the controller.  

Interactive video games like Pokemon Go can also offer several positive influences on children like increased eye-hand coordination, problem-solving skills, physical exercise, and healthier social interaction for some, but it is important to maintain balance.  As is the case with everything in life, even too much of a good thing can be harmful.  

Take a second to read through a few effective methods of providing structure for kids and their video games.  Excessive gaming can cause physical and psychological deficiencies over time.  Here are a few tips on how to limit video game addiction in kids.

Teach kids to take care of their responsibilities before gaming

It is crucial that parents teach their children to put gaming in its proper place in their lives.  Responsibilities should always come before games.  For example, set a rule that no games can be played after school until all homework is finished.  

If children see their games as supplemental and not a necessity, they will be better adjusted overall.  An overdose of gaming can send the message that it is okay to shirk responsibility and do something more fun.  

Access to video games should be an earned privilege

Gaming should be viewed as a privilege, not a basic right.  Just like other forms of entertainment, it should be a treat.  Maybe the kids get an hour longer to play games at the end of the week if they have kept up with all their chores around the house.  

Just as more time can be added to the gaming allotment, kids should be aware that their gaming privileges can just as easily be taken away for bad behavior and a failure to maintain responsibilities.  

Tips for avoiding conflict

It may get a little tense when mom or dad tries to take the game away from little Jimmy.  As parents, we should always remain calm and assert our boundaries.  To avoid conflict, try setting very clear boundaries for playing times.  In addition, set out a visible timer and give warning times, “You have 15 minutes… You have 10 minutes… etc.”  

When the timer dings, it is time to quit playing.  Give the kid enough time to finish their round or level and save their progress, and then game time is over.  If they ignore directions, do not yell, grab the controller, or turn off the system.  Simply inform the child that every minute they continue playing will be deducted from their next playing time.