Game Addiction: Tips to help wean my child off gaming

Games have become a massive part of our culture. Being a very popular form of entertainment for most, it comes as no surprise that they are quite appealing to the youngest in our societies.

Some game developers work tirelessly to lure players to their games and get them hooked.

They do this through the use of principles of behavioural economics and algorithms to trigger the brain’s reward system, making the gamer want to play some more ( … and more).

If you are worried about the amount of time your child spends gaming, you wouldn’t be the first, we often hear similar concerns from many parents requesting some effective tips to reduce the amount of time their child spends gaming.

Tips to reduce your Child’s time spent gaming:

Here are some effective tips to help you provide your child with more balanced and optimal lifestyle.

1. Play a game with your child. This may seem a little counter-intuitive at first, but if you make an effort to try and understand why they find these games appealing, they will be more likely to take on what you have to say.

2. Keep a log and track the amount of time each day that your child spends gaming (or get them to do it themselves). The rationale behind this one is to actually generate an argument as to why it would be in their best interest to cut back. How much of their free time are they actually spending gaming? 10%, 20% or 50%? Present this visually to them, perhaps through the use of a pie chart.

3. Generate a list of other activities (involving physical activity & their friends preferably) together This one serves two functions. If your child can derive a sense of satisfaction away from their screens, they will be more inclined to partake in an alternative activity. Moreover, by actually generating a list of alternative activities they would enjoy and could be partaking in (during the free time mentioned earlier), they will realise that they are in fact already sacrificing a lot by gaming and be more likely to sacrifice the gaming itself.

4. Create a long-term goal, present it as an adventure and praise their efforts along the way.

Kids don’t usually have long term goals that they want to pursue. With that being said though, they may have some very unique interests and passions that they may be willing to pursue if only they knew how.

Perhaps they are quite musical, if so, help them construct a guitar. Expressive? Well then why not try enrol them for some Latin American dancing? Do they have a bit of a green thumb? Why not help them construct a garden.

Find a challenge that they will consider worth pursuing!

It is true that this may require an investment from the both of you, but that’s the point. Games rely on instant gratification. They are easy to attain.

Nothing really beats the sense of fulfilment one gets when they see themselves getting incrementally closer to a goal they only dreamed of achieving.

What Else Can I do?

If these tips don’t work, don’t fret! In this case it may be worth consulting your local psychologist who’ll be able to give you with some guidance on the best way to support your child and allow them to overcome this issue and reach their full potential.