This article covers the 12 step program for video game addiction which every parents should know to anable them help their children with video game addiction. Video games are addicting, no jokes! The victims are often male children between the age of 8 down to teens and you wouldn’t even blame them in a way because the games are super captivating with attention-grabbing features. Aside from the features, they see video games as a relaxation tool.
Because of how captivating playing video games are, children and teens spend so much time playing and they eventually become addicted. It affects not just their daily lives but also their brains. There are many more damages that playing video games for a very long period can do to your child or teen.
12 Step Program for Video Game Addiction Parents Should Know
If your child or teen falls into the category of addiction, bother not; there are remedies and they aren’t farfetched. In this article, you will be introduced to a 12 Step program for video game addiction in children and teens but first, get acquainted with signs that tell that your child or teen is addicted to video games.
Also Read: How to Teach a Teenager Respect And Discipline
Signs that your child is Addicted to Video Games
1.. Too much time spent on gaming.
2. Prioritizing video games over other important aspects of life.
3. Continued gaming despite threats to health.
4. Trying to deny the amount of time spent on gaming.
5. Using it as an escape.
6. They have trouble paying attention in school.
7. Difficulty in maintaining relationships with people.
8. The time spent on gaming keeps increasing.
9. Their academic life becomes poor.
10. Becoming angry if denied the opportunity to play video games, even for a short while.
11. They experience withdrawal symptoms such as loss of appetite and inability to sleep well.
12. Obsessive thinking about video games
Causes of Video Game Addiction
1. The need to escape
Children may become addicted to gaming as a way of escaping the realities of their lives. Kids who suffer from anxiety disorders or deficit of attention may see video games as a good escape from these issues and they may become addicted to them. This is because video games are good at suppressing negative emotions.
2. Instant Satisfaction
In most video games, consistent and achievable challenges are created. This distracts one from important goals in reality. Most children get instant satisfaction when they complete the challenges in the game. This satisfaction ultimately leads to more gaming.
3. The Need to Belong
Some children are naturally introverted and may feel anxious in social settings. The multiplayer option in gaming may provide the social interaction satisfaction that they lack without them meeting anyone face to face and feeling anxious. This makes them relax and even play more.
4. Dopamine Release
Dopamine is responsible for making one feel pleasure and satisfaction. Video games are made to be extremely stimulating and create an immersive experience for players. This causes high levels of dopamine to be released when playing and causes the brain to associate gaming with a pleasurable experience. This makes the child/player feel good at the moment but will have to play for a longer time to feel satisfaction because the brain receptors become desensitized with time.
Also Read: How to Deal with a Narcissistic Teenager
12 Step Program for Video Game Addiction Parents Should Know
These 12 step programs are principles and actions you must have your child study and practice to escape from the grip of video game addiction. They include:
1. We admitted we were powerless over Gaming so much that our lives have become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. We decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. We also admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. We humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when doing so would injure them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. And Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and practice these principles in every one of our affairs.
How Do I Break My Child’s Video Game Addiction?
As a parent, it would be a painful sight to watch your child or children play the video game all day long while leaving important aspects of their lives to rot. You should help them out of addiction, that’s what parenthood is, right? The following measures could be used to help your child with gaming addiction:
Your child may become addicted to video gaming due to some underlying issues such as loneliness, anxiety, and the inability to socialize. You should speak to your child and try to understand why they enjoy gaming so much.
Without understanding, it would be difficult to know what they’re going through and you would not be able to help them.
When you communicate with them, you will find out if they’re using it as a means to escape from something.
2. Restrict their access
Some people may advise against completely cutting your child off from gaming because it is believed that it will cause an increase in their cravings.
However, if it is a critical situation, then extreme measures must be considered but they should not be indefinite. You can do it for a while and let them have it back under strict regulations. Within that period, you should have them engaged in other activities.
3. Provide an alternative
Encourage your child to try out other fun activities that they enjoy and that would also bring them pleasure. It could be taking a walk, doing exercise, etc.
4. Screen time control
Monitoring and moderating the time your children spend on a device would help tackle addiction.
Make a rule concerning their screen time, and back it up with consequences. Make sure you enforce it and that your child abides by it.
5. Carry them along
When making these rules and setting consequences, your child should be in-the-know. Carry them along in the process so that they will be fully aware.
That way, if they break the rules you have set, you would not hesitate to enforce the consequences as there will be no room for excuses. Also, it would make them feel important and valued as well.
6. Make them see gaming as a reward
Make your child see gaming as a reward rather than an entitlement.
Make it known to them that completing certain chores or assignments would earn them points to play the game. Also, let them know the number of points they should get to earn one video game.
That way, they won’t throw tantrums when you deny them the luxury of playing.
Also Read: What to Do When You Child Makes You Too Aggressive
7. Keep gaming devices away
You should keep gaming devices away from sensitive areas of the house like bedrooms or study areas. It will help erase the thought of video games from their minds.
It is advisable to keep them in a central part of the house, where they cannot easily hide and play without getting caught.
8. Model good behaviour
If you are a parent that loves to play video games, then you should model good behaviour for your child to emulate. You cannot play the game all day and expect your child not to do so. It also extends to other electronic devices like smartphones and television. You should use them in moderation.
9. Maintain a healthy relationship with your child
It is important to have and maintain a close relationship with your child. It would make them free to talk to you and tell you their grievances. They will easily talk to you about their feelings and what they are struggling with and that would make the process a lot easier.
10. Consider therapy
According to World Health Organization, playing video games under compulsion is a mental health condition. So, taking your child for Cognitive Behavioural therapy should be considered. This therapy session will help your child to manage their addiction by changing how they think and behave. It addresses the underlying factors that may have caused them to become addicted.
Video game addiction can be harmful to the mental and physical health of your child or teen. It may prove challenging to deal with your child’s addiction to video games but it is not something that can’t be achieved. It would take patience, understanding, and a lot of work to achieve that. You do not even have to do it alone, you can get a trusted friend involved.
When you properly address the reason they’re addicted to it, it would help them see faming as a recreational activity and not as a means to fill a void.