With the release of the online game FIFA 21 tomorrow, the debate on gaming addiction is as heated as always! With millions of kids and young adults spending more time than usual at home, the temptation is big to spend hours every day playing your favorite games online.
Video game addiction: how to help your child?
Recognized since May 2019 as a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO), video game addiction or gaming disorder would affect a minority of players, i.e. between 0.5% to 4%, based on 2.5 billion players worldwide.
If your child plays 1 hour a day, be calm! But if he or she plays more, there are some signs to look out for to be sure of your child or teen’s psychological stability.
Video game addictions
The consensus on which expression to use to describe excessive use of video games has always been the subject of debate.
Yet, this disorder has been recognized as an addiction along with addiction to cocaine or gambling. If some scientists think that we can see in this excessive gaming, not an addiction, but pre-existing pathologies which push players to lock themselves in the game, others think that this addiction to video games is good, is real and is based on risk factors.
Which brings us to the next point: what are the risk factors or pre-existing pathologies that can lead to video game addiction?
Do you need help from a doctor?
Risk factors for video game addiction
While there is no typical profile, some studies have nevertheless shown that gambling addiction manifests itself more frequently in young men, with a modest socioeconomic status, presenting impulsive traits and tendency to distract and avoidance.
We also note a poorer quality of interpersonal relationships and poorer coping skills. In addition, a tendency to depression or depressed mood, as well as anxiety and social phobia are factors to consider.
The WHO has set three cumulative criteria: loss of control, a lot of time spent playing and negative consequences on daily life, in addition to a minimum period of 12 months for a diagnosis to be made.
Concretely, the player will gradually abandon his centers of interest, his activities and his social circle to make the game his sole priority and sole source of pleasure.
As a result, there is a drop in school performance, eating, concentration and sleep disorders, anxiety, aggressiveness and sadness.
Video game addiction also causes the reward system to malfunction: the more people feed this system while playing, the more the reward system will be activated only with the game.
Adopt the right behavior as a parent or loved one
Now that we have taken stock of the risk factors and warning signs, it is essential to adopt the right behavior when approaching your child or teenager.
Show him your interest
Ask simple questions to try to understand what your child is passionate about the game, and if you can take the plunge, play with him!
You will forge a new bond that allows you to communicate more easily, but also to identify what your child is building in the video game, to bring it to him later in other forms.
Don’t expect results overnight, it will take time for your child or teen to come out of their virtual bubble to jump into the real world.
Get active together
It will be difficult for him to reconnect, but encourage him to the end, look for other potential social activities and celebrate small victories together.
We have to make sure that the game is no longer the main refuge of the teenager and help him to have fun beyond his screen, without abruptly removing his favorite activity.
Do not unplug the computer or the console
This is counterproductive and usually generates aggression.
He may indeed turn against you and be angry with you for confiscating his only source of pleasure.
This frustration could also shift to another addiction. An alternative is to install the game screen in the living room, this will generate proximity to the world around: he is playing but he is not alone.
Set limits together
Like, for example, a day without a video game. It is very important to make decisions with your child or teenager, to ask their opinion and to listen to them: they will feel valued in this way and in the end, you will be able to establish limits. If at this time the teenager does not agree, consult and seek outside help.
Keep in mind that video games have both positive and negative aspects!
Studies have clearly shown the benefits of video games in therapy: they can in particular develop cognitive capacities, attention and concentration capacities, they also improve memory, coordination between the eye and hand, acuity and visual attention.
Self-esteem is further boosted by playing MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), games that strengthen the social dimension of belonging to a community in adolescents, like FIFA21.
To conclude, therefore, it is not a question of demonizing the video game but only of showing that like everything else, the video game is a double-edged sword and that the player must find the right balance to get better.