More parents are searching for information of any kind as they helplessly watch their sons and daughters become highly absorbed in the world of computers, tablets and Smartphones. Children hooked on to video games show clear signs of addiction resorting to tricks such as lying or hiding to play these games. Many show signs of social withdrawal, lack of interest in hobbies and activities, disobedience and even anger. Several video game addicts actually view the games as a means of escape- an alarming trait according to psychologists. So today we will study some strategies you can use to get your child to stop playing video games. Note that there are no guaranteed solutions to video game addiction; you’d want to tweak these strategies and use ones that show positive results.
1. Present a united front
Both parents need to take this issue seriously and present a united front. Discuss the situation amongst yourselves and arrive at a decision so that when you approach your child to talk, you are both on the same page. If you do not do so, your child might seek help from the skeptical parent and cause division between you two.
2. Show the child that you care
Start the discussion by telling your child that you love him/her and that you are concerned about her/his happiness and well-being. Reassure them first and discuss the harms of addictive video gaming. Tell them specifically about the dangers it causes such as fatigue, poor grades at school, lack of self-esteem etc. Discuss alternative activities to video games such as family game night etc.
3. Assign video game time limit
One of the most important ways to get your child to stop playing video games all the time is to ask them to become more accountable. Restrict the time they spend online. Request the child to help and cooperate with you in this matter. Put them on an honor system and ask them to maintain a log of time they spend online. Watch out for signs of denial such as balking at this suggestion or lying in log recording. Here is a handy video game time limit chart to help you break your child’s video game addiction.
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4. Be reasonable
Many parents make the mistake of threatening to take away their child’s phone or computer as punishment. Some even force their child to just quit gaming cold-turkey. These approaches never work. Instead, establish clear boundaries. As stated above, set time limits for weekly online gaming. Work with the child to help her/him overcome the addiction. You may even allow the child to play for an hour after homework each night. Avoid trying to control the child; instead stick to the rules but be reasonable as well.
5. Keep the computer/phone visible
As far as possible keep the phone/computer visible at all times. This way, you do not have to keep popping into your child’s room to check on him/her. If possible, get a laptop so that your child can move it to his/her room when they need to do school work. Keep a track of the modem so that you remain in control and know how much time your child is online.
6. Encourage them to take up hobbies
Allow your child to use the Internet but also encourage them to participate in other alternative activities to video games. Encourage healthy ones like swimming, track, or other sports. Get involved as a family in community events and sports activities at school. Work with the local pastor or church group to teach kids positive values such as sharing, giving back to the community and so on.
7. Acknowledge their feelings
Some children might rebel against these rules and might consider it to be a punishment. Let them vent out their feelings. Do not be an enabler, be a supporter. At the same time; stick to your goals or restricting the time they spend online. Keep reminding them how video games have harmed other children. Tell them that you support them while they make these difficult changes.
8. Seek counseling
For highly addicted children, it is important to seek outside help. Speak to a counselor at school or seek help of a professional therapist.
Remember: family therapy is the best way to heal your child’s mind. Get involved as a parent instead of constantly getting distracted with your own worries. Often that is the main reasons why children try to escape in the online world of gaming in the first place.