According to a children’s health poll from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll, 86 percent of parents believe that their adolescent children spend excessive time playing video games. The poll says that many of these parents might be mistaken about their kids’ actual time on gaming.
Many parents are mistaken about the extent of their own child’s video game habits. Parents reported a very different gaming pattern for teen boys than girls. The poll found that about 41% of teen boys and 20% of adolescent girls play video games every day, i.e., Teen boys are more likely to spend three or more hours gaming.
Besides this, parents also reported that gaming often affects the other aspects of their child’s life, such as family activities and interactions (46%), sleep (44%), homework (34%), friendship with non-gaming peers (33%) and extracurricular activities (31%).
Moreover, half of the parents with teens said that their child spent at least three hours a day gaming. And, 78% of these parents also thought their teen was gaming about as much or less than other teens.
Almost half of the parents believe teen gaming cuts down on homework time, and 42% of parents of daily gamers said that playing video games negatively impacted teens’ moods, compared to 32% of parents whose teens played less frequently.
Looking above all the data, you might be thinking, what are the possible consequences your child might face because of excessive use of video games, and what are the ways to minimize the gaming habits?
Negative effects of playing video games excessively on your children
Everyone needs to remember that video games are not inherently evil. The excessive use of video games and addiction to it result in negative effects of video games. Here are some of the list of negative effects of playing video games excessively.
- Relationship issues
- Health issues
- Social disconnection
- Exposure to toxic gaming environments
- Poor academic performance
- Escapism and getting stuck in life
Let’s explore each of the negative effects in a more detailed way.
The common problem among gamers and their families is relationship issues resulting from playing too many video games. When your child gets too addicted to video games, they start to neglect other parts of their lives, such as family gatherings, dining together, or study time.
Relationships are like plants, i.e., if you neglect one long enough, it will wither up and die. Thus, they need regular nurturing to grow. When your child spends most of their time gaming, there is almost no time left in the day for their family and friends to talk.
Playing video games online or offline can not be called an unhealthy activity on its own. However, spending hours and hours on end can quickly become detrimental to one’s physical health.
Instead of involving in physical activities, if your child spends much time playing video games, they may suffer from the child’s health in several negative ways. Child while playing video games, end up sitting in one place for hours and hours that may increase the chances of
- weaken the muscles and joints,
- make hands and fingers numb due to overexertion,
- weaken the eyesight,
- back pain
Even though multiplayer games exist, most children end up playing them by themselves in their rooms. This ultimately limits their interpersonal skills in real life, and they may prefer being by themselves and interacting digitally.
Such children fail to start conversations face-to-face and feel bored and often make them isolated at social gatherings. And as a result, there is a high chance of adjustment disorder, depression, anxiety, and stress getting high in their working and personal lives.
Exposure to the toxic gaming environment
Some video games are available in the market that contain excessive violence, over-the-top sexuality, profanity, racism, and many other things, and exposure to such things to children might be disturbing.
The architecture of a child’s brain is still developing, and they won’t be able to differentiate between right and wrong until being exposed to the real world. Besides this, some of the gaming communities can be more toxic than others. Some games are more competitive in nature than others, and competition sometimes does not bring out the best in us, which could be one of the potential reasons.
Poor academic performance
The craze of video games among children is insane. Children prefer video games over anything else. Almost every child enjoys playing video games far more than studying at school. Slowly, they become game addicts, which can affect their academic performance. They may even ignore their homework, assignments, and studies for exams to play video games, resulting in poor performance and also affect their emotional intelligence.
Escapism and getting stuck in life
Video games are considered a safe space for people to escape whenever they do not feel how to deal with the problems in their lives. But, if playing video games helps you prevent finding ways to deal with your issues, this can create a problematic scenario.
If your child wants a break from their hectic school days and finds relaxation playing video games, then you as parents are responsible for maintaining a healthy balance between workload and gaming by taking one step at a time to take back control of their life.
Signs of video game addiction in children
Children get very easily addicted to video games. You can know whether your child is addicted to gaming if they have the following symptoms:
The most important sign that your child is addicted to gaming is defensiveness and denying that the problem exists. Your child may not be ready to accept that they are heavily dependent on video games, even if you provide them with proof.
Your child starts to ask m/ore for pocket money to buy the things related to gaming or for upgrading the online games. Your child may also end up stealing money for you to fulfill their wish if you deny giving money to them.
Disinterest in other aspects of life
Your child prefers more sitting at home and playing games to going outside to play with other children. Your child may promise to play only for certain minutes or until they finish some level but cannot follow through and end up playing hours without realizing it.
Unable to process failure
Your child tends to show aggressive behavior whenever they lose the game or fail to complete the level. Your child may seem unreasonably angry, sad and frustrated, and unable to understand that it is merely a game.
How to Break a Child’s Video Game Addiction(7 Proven Tips)
Create a family media plan:
Have a family media plan. Make a rule of no screen time during mealtime or bead time. And tell your child if they fail to obey the rule, their video game gadgets will be seized for a week as a punishment.
Make use of the common room for gaming purposes:
Make sure to keep the gaming area in a public area of the home so that you can easily spot the screen from afar. Do not let go of your child to their rooms with their smartphones and do schoolwork on their laptop.
Be a good role model:
Be a game partner for your child for a while. You can set a good example by playing games along with your child. Doing so helps you see what your child is doing, and you can also help put some time limits on gaming.
Involve your child in outdoor activities:
Allow your child to play video games only after completing their school work. If possible, try your child to focus on real-world games. Make other outdoor activities a part of a child’s life as well.
Watch your child while playing online:
Be around your children while interacting with some strangers while gaming to ensure they do not reveal any personal details to anyone. Be aware of how your child uses devices and video games and what kind of games and apps your child is downloading.
Set a time limit:
Schedule game time for your child by setting time limits beforehand. You can use a physical timer to set time limits (like a simple kitchen timer). Explain the consequence of heavy playing habits and teach them that video games can only be played in moderation.
Have an open talk with your children
One of the most effective ways to break your child’s gaming addiction is to have an open talk about video games, the dangers of playing with strangers, sharing personal information in chats, appropriate language, graphic video game content, and bullying behavior. Make your child aware of how excessive gaming can make people more violent and increase anxiety and depression.
You are aware of the negative side effects of excessive usage of playing video games. Even several health issues can be seen because of the heavy gaming habit. Thus, it is clear that video games aren’t advisable or meant for young kids as the blue light from screens can adversely affect their eyesight.
Thus, keeping these all things in your mind, you as parents need to make sure that they don’t get addicted to games to avoid the problems from heavy gaming habits.
From the above-mentioned information, it may seem like video games can create many problems; however, there are plenty of gamers leading successful lives and still playing video games. A balanced and right amount of gaming with friends and family can lead to stronger bonds.
But you should not forget that excessive gaming often results in isolation. Only adequate doses of gaming make all the difference between playing games for enjoyment and gaming controlling your life. Therefore, it is much more important to watch your relationships and see if they move down a path you do not desire.