Video games have been a fashionable form of entertainment for decades. However, the prevalence of video game addiction in teens is rising, leading to severe consequences. In our article today, we discuss what causes video game addiction in teens and how you can help them overcome it.
Signs of a video game addiction in teens
No time for family
They spend more time playing video games than they do with friends or family members. These teens will stay up late playing video games and then wake up early for school without getting enough rest in between, let alone taking breakfast. The teen may not be aware that they are sleep-deprived and will continue to go about their business. This may proceed as far as skipping supper.
Consistent failure of stopping
The teen may have tried to cut back on their time spent playing video games but are unsuccessful. They find themselves so drawn into the game that they can’t stop until they’ve reached a certain point or won the game. Some teens will deny having an addiction and continue to play even though it is causing problems for them at school.
It becomes difficult for these teens to keep up with schoolwork, chores around the house, friendships, jobs, etc. This leads them into depression or anxiety due to feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities. There is an increase in mood swings between extreme happiness when indulging in gaming time and anger during other times of the day.
The child’s grades may start dwindling if they are playing video games instead of completing homework. They may also stop participating in extracurricular activities that have been a big part of their life previously, such as sports or clubs at school. Teachers may notice that the child is neither completing their work in class nor focusing on lessons.
The child’s hygiene and grooming may slip, and they will neglect personal care. This can lead to weight loss or gain from constantly sitting in one place playing games all day long without moving.
What Causes Video Game Addiction in teens?
They are entertaining and act as Anti-depressant
They can be very entertaining and provide a way for the teen to escape from real-life responsibilities or harsh reality. For example, the child may be facing problems at home or school, and video games provide a means to forget these struggles. This practice can be harmful if they use video games as a crutch instead of seeking out the root cause of their depression, anxiety, or anger.
Lack of friends at school
The child could have been bullied in school, making them feel isolated from other children their age who don’t play video games. They may also not know how to make friends outside of gaming time with classmates or neighbors without playing video games together first.
Some video games are violent, allowing some teens to experience feelings that they would not otherwise feel daily, such as anger or rage towards another person fictionalized on screen. These emotions get bottled up inside from seeking revenge at school or being unable to express themselves fully, so these video games allow them to release those pent-up feelings without repercussion. Some people argue that modern-day shoot-em-up style video games promote violence which is another reason children may become addicted if they enjoy being violent while playing these games.
Video games have also been known to affect brain chemistry, releasing dopamine in the same manner as drugs do when reaching specific points or winning challenges within the game. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter chemical that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. This can lead to video game addiction when teens frequently seek out video games to release dopamine which is a gateway for certain video games becoming more addictive to them.
The child could have been introduced into video gaming by friends who are already addicted or parents who let their children play excessively. In this case, it becomes easier for the teen to become addicted because they see no problem with spending all of their free time playing video games while neglecting schoolwork, personal hygiene, etc.
Tips for helping your teen develop healthy habits outside of playing games
Encourage field trip with their friends
Invite their fellow teens and encourage other activities such as sports, cooking, or field trips-whatever they enjoy other than video games. Teens like to keep the company of their friends, meaning video games can no longer be a problem if the parents support freedom of interaction with good friends.
Take away privilege
If you have an older teen about to graduate from high school, take away privileges like driving or cell phone use until grades improve and you see more interest in activities outside of video games. This routine will show them that this behavior is not okay and needs immediate attention before things worsen.
Positive reinforcement can help video game addicts realize the benefits of quitting video games and working towards a goal. Try rewarding your child with something incredible when they perform well academically, participate in extracurricular activities, or show more significant effort towards improving their hygiene and grooming habits.
Limit game time
You will need to limit video game time to no more than two hours a day- any less is ideal. Still, if video games are being used as an escape from dealing with responsibilities, it may be necessary to limit their gaming sessions even further.
Get your teen “into” a sport that is popular within their age group and show support for them through attending all practices and matches, encouraging them along the way while having fun yourself too. Teens love support that is channeled in their hobby activities. Make sure to check on them periodically throughout the day and night, asking questions about their swim team, hockey team, and so on.
Video games are fun, but your teen needs to balance video games and other activities. Excessive Playing video games can lead to addiction which will damage their self-esteem, grades, and health. Parents can help develop healthy habits through positive reinforcement, limiting video game time, and showing support towards the child’s passion, whether it be competitive sports or a hobby at home like painting or cooking. Establish video game rules within your household that everyone agrees to follow. Respect their video game passion and know when it is time for them to take a break and get outside or engage in other activities. This practice will help them develop good habits while playing which will benefit their future potential, relationships, and overall well-being.
Priory group. (2021). Gaming addiction.
Eagle Ranch Academy. (2021). Teens and gaming addiction.
Last Updated on October 11, 2021