Addiction to Video Games is Hazardous to Your Children’s Health!

January 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Family, Parenting, Teenagers/Tweens

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Addiction to video games and the excessive use of video games was posted on CNN Health Chat today:

Here’s what the article had to say about “addiction to video games”:

When it comes to playing video games, it seems moderation is important to a child’s mental health.

A new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics finds excessive gaming may lead to depression, anxiety, and poor grades in school.

Researchers in the U.S. and overseas looked at more than 3,000 elementary and middle-school children in Singapore and found that almost 9% of them were considered pathological or “addicted” to gaming – similar percentages were found in other countries.

Over a two-year period about 84% of those who started out as excessive gamers remained so, indicating that this may not simply be a phase that children go through. Boys were more likely to show symptoms of excessive gaming. Overall those considered “pathological” gamers displayed higher levels of depression and other mental health issues than their peers who played fewer video games. The researchers also found that students who did stop their excessive gaming reduced their levels of depression, anxiety and social phobia.

Dr. Vicki’s comments:  Every week in my office one parent or another is complaining about how long their child is gaming.  Many are even questioning whether their kids have an addiction to video games.  Some of the more popular culprits include computer games such as Runescape, WOW (World of Warcraft) and many varietyies on X-box and other gaming systems.  Many students are displaying ‘addictive’ type behaviors, showing change in personality, withdrawal, excessive preoccupation with the game, drop in grades and change in attitude and mood.

If you are having concerns about the amount of time your child is playing any techno-games and the possibility of addiction to video games, take action! Limiting the amount of play to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of one hour for elementary age children and two hours of screen time for teens should put some balance back into their lives, make way for other activities and help avoid possible addiction to video games.   However, if your attempts to limit screen time creates marked anger and increased aggression in your child, it means that there is an addictive quality to his playing and he may actually have an “addiction to video games.”   Then playing needs to be ceased altogether.

You will be amazed at how many parents have reported that after limiting video time, or removing it all together (as a consequence, for example) kids actually start going outside to play, regain interest in their toys, come out into the family room where other members are gathered and even seem far less sullen, and even…dare I say it?…happy!

Enjoy your kids!

How are you handling the video craze?  What is your opinion about addiction to video games?  Please feel free to comment below.


5 Responses to “Addiction to Video Games is Hazardous to Your Children’s Health!”
  1. Dan says:

    We’ve limited our kids screen time (not just video games) since they were little. They don’t question it since the limits have always been a part of their lives. They used to get 30 minutes. Now that they are older (10 and 13) they get 1 hour of screen time (computer, TV, video games) a day. My advice? Start early!

  2. Dr. Vicki Panaccione says:

    Excellent advice! Thanks for your comments…Enjoy your kids!

  3. Gabriela says:

    I have a 4 Year old. Only half an hour of game and half an hour of TV. Is that too much?

  4. Dr. Vicki Panaccione says:

    You are off to a great start, recognizing the need to limit plugged-in time! An hour a day is not badat all. However, if you could get away with even less, I would suggest shorter amount of time for gaming…because the older s/he gets, the more s/he wants. 1/2 hour of TV is reasonable, since most shows are at least that long in length. Perhaps 15 minutes of gaming could suffice…Little ones have shorter attention spans so this may work for a while.

    Thank you for asking! Enjoy your kids!


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. says:

    Addiction to Video Games is Hazardous to Your Children’s Health! : Better Parenting Institute…

    Concern about addiction to video games is explored in a new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics which found that excessive gaming may lead to depression, anxiety, and poor grades in school….