Are your kids addicted to video games?
A new study published in Pediatrics showed that nearly 1 in 10 kids are pathological gamers. Find out the signs that your child is at risk and how to determine how much time is too much time on the PlayStation.
This Pediatrics study pointed out what many parents of kids and teens already know -- that too much time spent playing video games is unhealthy. In fact, pathological gamers are likely to have depression, anxiety and lower grades in school.
How much game play equals pathological or obsessive? Kids who averaged 31 or more hours of video game play a week were given this classification of "obsessive" and were more likely to have mental health issues and poor school performance.
Risk factors for pathological gamers
Suzanne Roberts of Westside Counseling Services shared with TodayMoms the top four red flags that your child is at risk for being a pathological gamer:
- Family history of addiction: A family history of any type of addiction -- whether it is drugs, alcohol or gambling -- can be hereditary.
- Gaming takes over kid's life: Would your child rather play video games instead of playing with friends, eating, hanging out with family and sleeping?
- Loss of interest in other activities: If your child has stopped doing an activity they previously enjoyed, such as playing the guitar, because all they want to do is play video games, this could be indicative of a video game addiction.
- Winning at games: The more they win, the more motivated they are to play more.
Another study showed that 9 to 12 percent of boys were labeled obsessive gamers, compared to just 3-5 percent of girls.
What can you do?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting computer time and video game time to 2 hours per day. Roberts recommends that you give your child a structured time they can play and keep the video games in the family room or another community room so they can't isolate themselves.
Provide your child with educational games over the violent video games and encourage them to play group video games so they will get some social interaction.