Also known as Online Gaming Disorder, this occurs when children become addicted Gaming either on or off line. Game designers have created the games that are used by people today in such a way as to encourage hours of play to advance in a game. The games are based on a reward system play. The player is rewarded for their time spent in the game. This excitement that a player will feel after gaining a level up or advancing to the next stage of the game releases Dopamine in the brain. This feeling that the player experiences is similar to what addict’s experience. A player will try to experience the feeling of attaining a reward again, and again. Reward seeking behaviour is what can lead to an addiction.
Games are also different to those in the past in that many have no ending. Games reward multi play interaction making the games a very social experience. They will also punish players who leave the game as the game continues while they are off line. A player may return to find all of their hard work and hours of play destroyed. This can make playing a game very addictive.
Some Advice for Parents
- One of the first steps to take, is to establish is there a problem, is the child socially withdrawn, spending countless hours playing games, neglecting themselves and responsibilities. Do they react aggressively if there is an attempt made to break or interfere with the gaming cycle. If so then there may be an addiction problem
- Parents should encourage that children reduce the time that the child is playing the game and suggest that the child engage in some other interest preferably a physical activity
- Parents need to be supportive and encourage the efforts being made by the child to withdraw from devices if they decide to do so
- Parents may need to restrict the access to the device or set a period of time before the device can be used again
- Parents should set time limits for children for how long that they are permitted to play the games
- Parents should remember that the gaming console is not a child minder. While games can encourage the development of some skill sets as with any thing in life moderation is key. Over use or exposure will have a negative impact on the child
- Parents should get involved with the child and that gaming is not the primary source of entertainment and limit play to no more than 2 hours a day
- Remember access to these devices for children is a privilege, Not a Right.
- The most important message we can give you is that it is OK for a parent to say ‘NO’, we would prefer to see parents say it alot more often