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Talking to your child about game addiction

August 29th, 2008 / 4 Comments

You’ve heard the extremes.

Twelve-year-old dies after playing 12 hours of computer games.

“Grand Theft Auto” led teen to kill.

As parents, we worry over that kind of news, and know that it could happen.

But if we tell our kids those incidences as reasons to stop playing computer/video games, they’ll roll their eyes at us – Mom is neurotic, overprotective, exaggerating…

What can we tell our kids to warn them of the dangers of too much gaming?

Instead of screaming and lecturing them to convince them to stop while they’re in the middle of playing, surprise them with this.

Ask your children to go out to dinner. Then simply and calmly ask them a few questions:

1. What else are you focusing your energy and time on besides computer games?

2. What else are you pursuing to improve besides your game score?

3. What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now? How are you heading towards that?

4. Are you controlling your time or are the games controlling you?

5. If you don’t think you are addicted to playing games, would you test yourself and see what happens if you stop playing for a month?

Our children will get very defensive if we lecture them to stop playing their games. If we approach it with questions that make them think, they might be challenged to take an honest look at themselves.

Read other posts in this series –

Video Game Addiction

Internet Use Contract

Enforcing Computer/Video Game Limits

Is Playing Computer/Video Games That Bad?

What To Do If Your Child is Addicted to Video Games?

Photo by Rebecca Pollard

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  1. Gotta tell ya, Katy, this is EXCELLENT advice and ideas. I made the mistake of starting my kids early on video games (partly because I now see that I was addicted to – which I’ve beaten since.)

    Lecturing and nagging don’t work. We’re just not as interesting as the game. But get them away from it and talk is good. We also need to wean them young and involve them in other things so gaming is just ONE of their options.

    But when we suddenly pull them away from it, we shouldn’t take it personally when they are aggressive or angry: there’s LOADS of adrenaline pumping through their system and it takes time both for it to thin out AND for them to break their adrenaline addiction.
    Great post!

  2. Thanks, Pete, and for sharing your experience. Yes, we can not take it personally, and then feel guilty for doing the right thing.

  3. People die because they didn’t have enough common sense or self control to stop.

  4. Think it might be a bit more complex than that Henry but I agree with the guts of your comment. Unfortunately, addiction tends to override what commen sense and selfcontrol people have left, though.


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