Games can be addictive, but obsession is something else.
The following article is intended for parents of a teenager who may be obsessed with video games or computer games. While in some of our other articles we may seem like we foster obsession, we share the concern for teens who tend to avoid other interests in life in favor of gambling activities to the point of withdrawing from society.
We would never encourage this type of behavior, which is why we took the time to describe some of the signs of gambling obsession and offer some advice on how to deal with them.
Recognizing the signs of teens’ obsession with games isn’t as easy as you might think. It always starts as a first interest and then starts turning into an addition. The problem of identifying the early stages of gambling obsession begins with the teenager. By the time our kids are 15 and up, they’ve learned some pretty impressive debating skills. So when we question their motives for repetitive play, they can logically disprove our concerns and even make a point to question our flaws as parents.
Since no parent really wants to admit a flaw, we can sometimes give up and convince ourselves that maybe 4 hours in front of a video game isn’t that bad. After all, we spend so much time on the computer, phone, or streaming data between our Palms, Blackberries, and Cingular cell phones.
Be careful not to fall prey to the logical teenager. Video games can be addictive, and if the time spent playing them is not carefully monitored, they will consume everything that previously worried a teenager.
The moment you notice your child’s grades dropping, missing homework, or social life starting to wane, stop the game in the bud. If you wait too late to limit playtime, you may experience pre-adult tantrums that you aren’t prepared to handle properly (swearing, breaking things, stealing, running away from home, etc.). At this point, the child is obsessed and will do anything to get their hands on a game controller.
Another sign of obsession is a change in behavior. A child who is obsessed with games will lose patience with things and with others, will quickly get angry and react to situations without fully thinking about the consequences. If you’ve been paying attention to video games and / or computer games, you’ll notice that they require this type of behavior in order to win or advance to a higher level.
It’s a shame, but a teenager obsessed with these types of violent games is literally trained to react in the way described above. That is why it is important that, as an adult, you limit access to this type of entertainment and replace it with activities that slow down thinking (such as art, music, theater, etc.) and expose your child to other non-violent pleasures (swimming, dance, skating, etc.).
There are many debates circulating about the impact video games have on today’s young people, and some of them may warrant more attention. As a parent of a teenager, you will do well with your child’s desire to “start playing” by keeping an eye on undesirable changes.