- An article published on the American Pediatric Association’s 2019 website by Jeffrey W. Hutchinson, MD, FAAP, presents a number of ideas that are worth considering by parents whose children spend too much time playing video games and seeking advice. in managing this issue.
The main advice derived from the article is that the parent should not seek the solution from the outside but get involved and solve the problem with the child. Reformulated, it is not a problem of the parent with the child, but a problem of the child, so it must be managed starting from him and with him. In order to establish a regulation that is to be respected, it is necessary to look deeper into the problem.
- Be careful not to fall asleep. For a developing body, sleep and rest are important for health. Often children can play at night when they think they have no other job or their parents are asleep, which can be dangerous. Moreover, it will be much harder for them to fall asleep if they play until bedtime due to external stimuli.
- The long time spent in front of your computer / phone / console replaces other essential activities that can no longer be done. So a first step would be a parent-child discussion about what are the essential daily activities that each one has and how long each one needs in order to be able to do a program together.
- In the case of children who are constantly seeking someone’s attention, games can become addictive due to frequent stimuli and the constant reception of positive feedback that they provide. This is especially true of virtual reality games, which can make you feel overwhelmed by it.
- Today, children communicate a lot on social networks or WhatsApp groups where they talk about the games they play. If a child has permanent access to them, they may receive invitations to “enter” a game several times a day and not resist the temptation to accept them for fear of ruining their relationship with colleagues. To counteract this feeling of fear, it would be appropriate that when the screen time has been exceeded by a child, they no longer have access to the groups where the temptation may arise.
- Limits are needed. In addition to the parental control methods specific to each platform on which the child plays, setting an alarm that starts when time expires can also mean a decoupling for the child, but also warns the parent.
- If a child plays a more violent game, it does not automatically make him violent in the real world. Exposure to violent subjects is also possible in the real world, but it does not turn the child’s behavior into a violent one, unless he is excessively exposed to them. It is therefore very important to monitor the child’s behavior outside of play in order to find out in advance if it influences him in any way. If the influence is negative, it must be changed from the first deviation.
- A successful method of limiting the time before the game: the parent plays with his child. If the parent has finished the game, the child understands, without the need for explanations, that his time is ready. It can also be taken as a common activity, super enjoyable for the child he does with his parent, thus linking the relationship between them and possibly offering the possibility of rapprochement.
Source: How to advise parents when kids can’t put video game controller down | American Academy of Pediatrics (aappublications.org)