Could my kid be addicted to video games?

The word "addiction" gets used a lot to describe a certain kind of focused attention on media and technology. We say we're "addicted" to checking our email or "addicted" to watching Game of Thrones. Kids, however, might display what looks to be addictive behavior when they're only super engaged in creating something or getting to the next level in a game.

But if you have real concerns about your kid's behavior and notice mood changes, falling grades, mounting bills, or a lack of human interaction, you may want to talk with your pediatrician about the possibility of game addiction or the idea that another issue, such as depression, might be causing these problems.

Consider how much time you spend looking at screens, too. Make sure you're setting a good example at home by moderating your own technology use. And it's always a good idea to invite your child to do something together in the real world.

The Child Mind Institute contributed to this article. Learn more at childmind.org.

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Adult written by Chelle7

I'm a parent of a 16 yr old boy who games a lot. I'm concerned because that's all he does but he is having fun playing with his friends I just wish he would limit it. He does have a girlfriend and they do go out and do things together. I am happy that he is not drinking or drugging so I will take gaming over it.
Teen, 13 years old written by Kids are smart

I am just a 13 year old boy,I just had an argument with my parents about video games. I came home from a long day of practice so I figured I would relax by playing video games. However,my dad wanted me to finish work so I went and did some of it. Then I fell asleep since it was a tiring day. When I woke up,I thought I finished my work and started playing for a bit. Then,my dad yelled at me and wanted me to stop. I was already in a bad mood and he wanted me to go and swim since I do competitive swimming. I got mad and refused to go,so he banned me from playing games for a week. Which just made me more upset. Now I am tempted to just stop doing anything except for eating and sleeping. I realize this is going to be a endless cycle of me refusing work and he banning video games. Keep in mind,I am not a bad student,I usually get 6 to 7s and in our school,the best mark is 8. So I personally think I don’t fit under a bad student,but I will admit that I am addicted to video games, I normally play around 4 to 5 hours in the weekends and 30 min to an hour on all other days. Now I am on summer break and I feel like I deserve some alone time. I just moved to a new school this year and I don’t have too many friends. I am a bit annoying and kind of want attention. So I feel like teaching people and helping them online is my preferred way of making friends. I don’t know what options are the good ones,Help please.
Teen, 13 years old written by Mamoun458

Ok so i'm 13, I just got a ps4 this year. but i have a problem with my parents taking it away sometimes for a day or sometimes for a week, Now keep in mind I'm in 7th grade and my first semester was almost straight A's. The second was B's. I worked hard in my first semester to earn my ps4 and when I got it I was really excited, my grades dropped from A's to B's during the second semester. Keep in mind they had always been B's, not A's. My parents had a rule since I was around 7 where I could not play on weekdays but only on weekends. So i don't play on weekdays but I play on weekdays around 6-7 hours a day for two days. so that's for the whole week. But now its summer and I'm allowed to play every day. I play around 7-8 hour a day now. Whenever I am asked to do something or get off I immideitly get off or do what I was told so i am obidient. But now in the summer every other day or week I get it taken away. I am not a couch potato and I do have other hobbies such as soccer and cars. I'm currently in an elite soccer team and I have practice every other day for two hours and I run Two miles every day to stay fit for the team, I also have an Arabic class that I go to three times a week. But no matter what I do they keep taking it away and I don't complain. And I know my parents think it's because I play too much but none of my friends live around me and my best friend who lives down the street is staying in Saudi for the summer maybe for the year. I don't really feel addicted and I have no mental issues when it's taken away. Sometimes they take away my phone and the family computer. But I learned it's better to not complain. What should I do? Thanks in advance
Kid, 11 years old

Video game addiction is not a mental disease in itself, but can lead to other things, such as depression, anti-socialism, lack of sleep and anxiety. Video games are also not the cause of school shootings, but things like depression and bullying will. But, correlation does not equal causation. Now, the games that kids and teenagers are usually addicted to have high replay value, or lots to do. Fortnite has incredibly high replay value, due its matches ending with multiple outcomes, and Skyrim is a huge RPG, filled with tons of quests and items. To prevent a child or teenager from going overboard with games is to set boundaries, such as not being able to play on weekdays (which is what my father does) and having lots of time on the weekend. Or having maybe and hour on weekdays and additional hours on weekends. Either way, kids should take breaks if they play for extended periods of time, to prevent damage towards their eyes and preventing an addiction from occurring. It is best to hide or set a password on your child's devices to prevent them from using it when they are taking breaks or their time is over. But, this is all up to the parent/guardian of said child. Now, to tell if your child has an video game addiction, examine how long he plays. Usually, over 3 hours is a sign of attachment, not as bad as 7 or 8 hours, though. Some people have played games for over 20 hours, and this has lead to deaths of quite a few. A man died after playing a video game for over 30 hours, due to his lack of stretching and using the bathroom. From this, we can say that if your child is... A. Playing for extended periods of time without breaks B. Is suffering from a lack of sleep C. Lack of physical activity (Moving, stretching, etc) D. Suffering from lethargy but refuses to sleep E. Dislikes doing anything apart from playing F. Lack of speaking to friends or family And finally, G. Has eye pains. All of these are symptoms of too much gaming. This does not mean video games are bad. Puzzle games, team based games and shooter games all promote thinking and teamwork, and doing actions in games does not necessarily influence the player as a person. Actually, online games make people more sociable, and on top of that, sometimes players who are nice in games improve as real people. In short, games are good for you, but too much of a good thing can make it bad.
Adult written by jjqaz21

I agree with you about everything expect the amount of hours played I say anything more than 5 hours a day might be something to worried about. of course it matters when I was in high school every Friday night everyone; nerds, jerks, marching band, and even some cheerleaders, would get on and play halo online together all night (7pm till 5am) it was kind of the cool thing to do at the time plus I made friends with people I would have never even talk to because they were in different social groups. also you shouldn't measure by your child grade. I did horrible in high school because I didn't care I would sleep in class, not do my homework or classwork and just mess around but since I played video games around 3-4 hours a day my parents blame video games and took them away but I just end up switching to reading books and still failed my classes. just talk to your kid about why they playing video games some play it because they having problems at school and they made friends online so taking video games away would actually hurt them. I know a girl who had a hard time at school and all her friends she met online though MMO games but she would play like 8 hours a day (she got decent grades a C's) but her parents felt that was to much and she start getting depress because she basically lost all her friends and end up meeting this guy who got her into drugs and she disappeared. now I'm pretty sure this wont happen to most of you but I seen to many kids and teens get hurt because they not talking to their kids enough about why they doing something. plus most of the time people play games because that their fantasy, my friend love shooters because he like being the hero he end up joining the army and now he dont play video games as much because he find that more rewarding. if you really want your kids to stop find out what they want from life and replace it instead of just telling them stop playing.
Teen, 13 years old written by RadioActiV

So I am in about to be in 8th grade and I love PC gaming, after working long hours worth of chores to finally buy my computer. anyways, I am a honors student with a 4.0 GPA and have all A's. But, I love video games. Video games is my life outside of school and my job, being a Tae Kwon Do instructor, and I have spent about $100 buying games and making micro transactions. I get about 2 to 3 hours of screen time each day(when I do not have to do chores and other stuff such as getting grounded), but cannot play anymore. after that area of time. Is it wrong to have good grades, be in extra curricular activities and still be limited? Going over to my friends house, his name is Robert, and he is a C average student and is up until 4 am playing video games everyday. No limits no nothing. I know my parents are just protecting me, but shouldn't I be able to have more screen time to play with my friends, even after my heavy school practice and extra participation in local activities? That is were you, the parent, must decide. Anyways it is my money that I earned, so shouldn't that allow me to do what I want to do with it?
Adult written by KooledMaverick

First, sounds like you have your priorities in a good direction! I've never sign up to respond, but I felt compelled due to the the drastic effects mobile phones and games have had on my family... so forgive the rant. If you really look closely to what's happening with the rise of technology and the preference to IT over human interactions. Robing us All of life. All my wife and kids seem to care about is playing their games and when I say let's do something, go somewhere... I'm the bad guy. We have gone from, a family that spent a lot of time together to everyone going to their own place in the house and committing to their own little world's. My wife, GOT, my kids Fortnite and some weird block game.. Roadblock I think. I used to love games... now I detest them because of the time they have taken from me. You see, maybe your parents aren't trying to punish you, but want to see the best from you and miss the time lost to Game Play. It's your friend who I really feel for. You seem to have parents that are still willing to fight against what '' everyone'' else does. Goodluck, and may you have a Blessed future.
Kid, 12 years old

So,I'm a kid and I'm from India,I moved to America and I just have to sing for 1 hour and then play for just 30 minutes,i spent $35 on fortnite,and then they don't let me play,now I'm getting excluded from all of my groups and I am lonely, everyone gets to play for 2 hours even during the final or the parcc exam,in my home I just have my PS4 sitting under my TV with spiderweb looking things,let me ask this to parents,how did you all feel while playing Mario all day on summer,well guess what,I can't because I have to go to summer camp,where you just sit and put your head down,eat and just be like that the whole day.I feel lonely and depressed,and now I'm thinking why did I even buy a PS4 in the beginning.
Teen, 13 years old written by Sbhouse

My dad just thinks computer games are a waste of time so he doesn't let me play them. Please if your a parent reading this don't do that keep reading to see why Because he did that he actually got me addicted to them I would go to friends house and they were allowed to play whenever they wanted so I got games after game and hid them in my phone I played them at night and therefore got bad grades at school they cannot figure it out to this day I actually run a small Minecraft YouTube channel called REDSTRONICS so seriously they just shot themselves in the foot
Kid, 11 years old

You should construct an argument against your dads claims, but his opinion does not seem very subject to change, so good luck if you attempt to do so. This shall not be easy, and hiding this from your father probably makes you feel guilty. So let me help. First and foremost, when school comes around, improve your grades. Better grades equals a higher success rate of this procedure. In the mean time, offer to help with chores and be nicer when speaking with him. Establish trust with him. 2nd of all, speak to another guardian about this. Speak to your mother and or a grandparent or uncle and ask them if they could convince your father. Make sure your on their good side first. Then, when school comes around, put extra effort into your grades and try to make them as good as possible. Do this until the for a while and make sure your dad notices your grades. Also, construct an argument, but do not use fancy words too much or it will sound like you ripped it straight of the internet. Now finally, is you asking him. First of all, good luck on finding the courage if you cant. Then, by now you should have your argument done, which should be short, but good. Do not tell him about your channel or he will get suspicious, and tell him why. Here are some good points to use in your argument. 1. ¨Video games are like movies or books, they´re for entertainment. So why do you not say yes to video games?¨ 2. ¨Video games can actually be good for you. There are puzzles and fighting games which make you have to think about what to do next, and team games which are good for talking and teamwork skills!¨ 3. ¨ I want to make a nice YouTube channel, I want to do it as a job. (PS this isn't lying because while you have made a channel, you want to make it nice.) But overall, stop this video game addiction. Maybe he actually knows but doesn't want to talk about it? A small chance but it is possible. Good luck.
Adult written by Ken M.

I'm sorry that your dad is going to the extreme with this issue. I think what happens is he sees in news media all the kids that won't do anything but play video games when not in school and have no interest in socializing with others outside of technology, so he is being overprotective. Perhaps you can try maybe reasoning with him. Tell him that if he lets you play video games, you will devote more time to doing productive work such as doing chores around the house, and getting involved with a club or activity where technology isn't related. You can state the honest truth that saying no and not willing to compromise to anything only makes kids want to rebel more. Good luck. Let me know how it works out.
Parent of a 17 year old written by Nicole G.

My son was never addicted to gaming until Fortnite.. I now catch him up way past one am on a school night playing the game. He is a great student and plays high school sports but as soon as he comes home he is on his playstationplaying fortnight. His brothers also have devices but get off at 11 and go to bed. They also leave their doors open.. he lovks his door and makes it hard for me to monitor his behavior.. the bulk of our arguments is him locking his door.. his response is always the same.. that he is an honor role student and should be allowed freedom as long as his grades r good..which they r.. Super frustrating.. help
Teen, 17 years old written by Jeff from 22

I am a 17 year old boy. My parents get mad at me for playing fortnite battle royal in my spare time. However, what they don't understand is I am not being anti-socail i am playing with my homies.
Parent written by Gina C.

Adults can’t forget Atari and Nintendo. My sister and I were obsessed in the 80s and 90s. My mom moderated our video game use. But after reading the kids comments I can’t forget the feeling I got when I beat a level or game even though it was over 30 years ago! I teach my son to be kind and treat people the way he wants to be treated. That’s all that really matters in life. I’m going to make an effort to get engaged in the games he loves.
Teen, 13 years old written by Bleachy

To be honest, parents don't understand kids our age. Just because someone likes to do something doesn't make it an addiction. You could be as easily addicted to playing outside as playing video games. My parents have banned me from all video games for the last three years. For some reason playing video games will turn me into a 'school shooter' whatever the heck that means. We still have the same PS3 in our livingroom. When my parents go somewhere and leave me home, I sometimes play video games. I only do it because it takes my mind off of school, and reduces my stress. I don't see why but every time something out of the ordinary happens with me it is immediately blamed on video games. I am in gifted classes in school and my worst GPA this year and last year was a 3.14. So if you are a parent, please do me a favor and not ruin someones hobbies unless they are directly negative like drugs.
Teen, 15 years old written by Halomaster1

When people say “me and my son or daughter don’t do what we do anymore and we don’t have a relationship” then how about you do what ur kid wants to do not want U want to do. Play video games with them, ask them what’s so cool about this maybe that could be ur new thing that u guys do and u can also do other stuff. If kids our on video games almost all day let them play it’s something that they enjoy doing. If u dontt take em away then u could do something like finish ur hw then u can get back on or do ur chores right but if u don’t they won’t have anything to work for so then they wouldn’t care if they didn’t finish
Teen, 16 years old written by Cazurium

I feel like when everyone here talks about “video games”. The first things that come to your mind are games like “GTA V” or “CSGO” or any game that clearly has the 17+ rating. But if you take a closer look, there are some true masterpieces of games out there. Games with great music, great story, or some other gimmick that gets the player to truly love the game. Now I’m not blaming the parents, but I believe that simply talking it through with your child/teen and coming up with a reasonable deal for how long he/she can play. It can make a huge difference. In addition, parents should stop assuming that every game is bad. There are some games out there that are violent, not gonna lie. But if you try to take interest in your child’s hobbies, you will realize that there is so much more to video games than you think.
Adult written by Nathan W.

All I can say is that I may have a minor game addiction as an 18 year old. I have stayed up very late nights, failed classes, and isolated myself. Now I can control it, but I still find playing video games to be fun and more interesting than 90% of other things I could do in my spare time. I have not played in a month and I find there is something missing in a way. I have been gaming at least once a week since I was 6. I am 18 now and I find more things to be busy with, but as a kid I was bullied and I found isolating myself and exploring places and characters that I understood is what made me happy. All I wish that I had differently was a parent that shared that same interest instead of insulting me and laughing at me for it. If someone understood maybe I wouldn't have been so embarrassed about it and been less isolated. I also wish instead of grounding me from my grades when I failed, I got my grounded from my games when I was failing up until the moment when I was passing (with at least a B). This would have made me want to try in school and understand more why I got games taken up. If your child is like me, as hard it may be for you, from the bottom of my heart, play the games with them. Who knows, you may enjoy it. You can regain relationships, and maybe restrict the habit easier. I can tell you that it would for sure mean the world to them. If my dad would have walked into my room one day and showed interest in one of my hobbies, it would have meant the world to me. I can't express this enough. I would have been more likely to want to do things that don't involve gaming with him, but we didn't have the connection in the first place because I felt everything I enjoyed doing was wrong in his mind.
Kid, 11 years old

Hi i am a kid and i would like to talk one thing i would like to note is set time to 3 or 2 hours and try doing 1 hour or 1 and a half is good for most gamer's if you want to stop it don't think about. try putting jobs that have to do or let them play outside with friends also video games aren't bad some can help but don't get lame games like educate games because there boring games like portal 2 can be fun but have a good element that teach about puzzles and it does not rot your brain i liked it and played it often with friends those are the types of games you want check reviews and types of games they would like and try it yourself it would make your child more open to you and they would have lot of fun talk to them about it try it but if they want to play games like cs go please stop them because you can lose money too they can play but don't let them trade skins because that can happen. now I note that you read reviews for games and see what they want and see if it is good or not. DON'T GET THEM LAME OR ALL OUT EDUCATED GAMES because they can hate you for this. set time to 1 or 2 hours and try it too if you would find a new hobby and see why they like it and see the people in it.
Teen, 13 years old written by Im young-not dumb

These are the only criteria that make a child actually addicted. -If your child does not COMPLETE homework assignments on time due to games, they're addicted. -If your kid can't participate in (not start) a conversation about something other than video games, addicted. -If your son/daughter stays up past 1:00 am AND sleeps in until after 11:00 am, they're addicted. -If your offspring says that they hurt someone because they saw it in a video game, they aren't addicted, they need a therapist. Gaming isn't bad for your child. You just don't understand one of their hobbies. If games are their only hobby, they should try to add another-non-digital- hobby. Some kids aren't social because of bullying and they rely on the safety of Xbox Live's social system to teach them how to interact properly and enjoyably with other people. Again, unless your child is acting in one of the ways above, or playing 4+ hours of games a day, they're fine. Sometimes taking away an Xbox for a week is a good idea, but only as punishment for overplaying or an unrelated misdeed. NEVER take away an Xbox if your kid played more than an hour or two. More than 4 hours is excessive, though. Just because that's not what you did when you were a kid doesn't mean it isn't okay for them.
Teen, 17 years old written by JaffaGiraffe

Stop this insanity now. There is no such as a video game addiction. As a parent, what you see is your child being enthralled by some evil force that will corrupt and destroy. The truth, your child has a hobby that they enjoy, that hobby happens to be digital. Perhaps you do not understand the hobby, perhaps this is why you insist it is an addiction and therefore must be 'cured'. Maybe if parents like you endeavoured to understand the activity you would see that it is not a bad thing. There are of course some extreme cases, if playing video games legitimately interferes with vital aspects of your child's life then yes; it could be considered an addiction. This is the child's fault and not the game. Take me for example, I play video games compulsively because I enjoy that, I have the sense to stop when I have other things to do. Finally, it could be worse. Your child could be 'addicted' to TV. TV is nowhere near as beneficial as video games. Video games develop problem solving, coordination, creativity, reaction times, teamwork, imagination. Need I go on ?
Teen, 13 years old written by Sbhouse

I wish you could tell my dad that He thinks if it's not work it's a waste of time Therefore my life is: Wake up Eat something gross for breakfast Work Usually eat something edible for lunch Work Hopefully eat something good for supper Work Go to bed But I'm a rebel because of this so go to bed means watch movies and play computer games on my phone but if I get caught my phone is gone till I'm 15 old enough that they can't legally keep it from me I'm 13 right now
Parent of a 15 year old written by M K.

I BLAME the game company for manipulating our kids brain. Giving them score, ranking, prizes if they win... for God sake we need to pull this problem from its root. This is nothing but destroying our kids and addicting them to some stupid games and habits. And please don’t tell me I have to control my kids... then I be blamed to be the nurse ratchet and a law-dog (I been called both). I am so sick and tired of arguments. SOMEONE please if you have power to stop all these game from coming out, please DO. Tomorrow be too late. I am going to write to our congressman and representatives to have a ban on certain games, and time-limit for using the Xbox. Yes I said it. The control is on their hand and not the partners ... this just so sad. I use to have control when xbox was not in our house. I lost all my power to that box.
Teen, 17 years old written by JaffaGiraffe

What you have said makes no sense. You cannot hope to ban video games. That is similar to trying to ban sugar, the market is so huge and the fanbase is so large that attempting to ban video games would simply cause many many large companies to lose money. Anything that costs anyone money is inherently a bad thing. Good luck you crazy, misinformed individual.
Adult written by Morgan L.

You really blame the video game company for YOUR kid. You should be blaming yourself since you can't be the parent you need to be and control your kids actions. There is no evidence (I did research) that video games connect to a child's actions. Video games have been blamed because no one wants to blame themselves. I hardly doubt that your kid raised enough money to buy an Xbox and games without an adult. There are ratings on video games for a reason you should do your own research and find out what your kid is playing. There is such a thing as grounding or taking away things. You know that right?
Adult written by Morgan L.

You really blame the video game company for YOUR kid. You should be blaming yourself since you can't be the parent you need to be and control your kids actions. There is no evidence (I did research) that video games connect to a child's actions. Video games have been blamed because no one wants to blame themselves. I hardly doubt that your kid raised enough money to buy an Xbox and games without an adult. There are ratings on video games for a reason you should do your own research and find out what your kid is playing. There is such a thing as grounding or taking away things. You know that right?
Parent of a 15 year old written by M K.

What can we do now? It seems every one of our kids are addicted to games and boxes. It has totally destroyed my relationship with my son. We have no life at home AT ALL. Sociaty is raising my kid... I am thinking just to let him do what he wants because every night we have argument rather than good family time. What can we do? Someone please help
Parent of a 13 year old written by Gina R.

I have a 13 year old, almost 14, who has become addicted and yes that is what I feel he is to this new game he is playing Fortnite on his Xbox. He is an extreme athlete, but did not take a sport this winter. He spends hours on the game before and after homework and on the weekends does not leave his room. His dad and I are divorced and his dad said that he found him up at 5:00 am in the same spot as last night on the game. He went to bed and slept until 3:30 pm this afternoon. I do not know what to do. He has some anger and I have threatened taking the game but this will definitely cause a deep temper tantrum. His friends are all on it so I will be the bad mom. These parents do not care I guess. I have no idea how to approach this but I would like some advice.
Teen, 17 years old written by JaffaGiraffe

This is reasonable that you would want to rectify the situation. Not because of the video games but because of his behaviour. I would highly recommend that you simply request to talk to him about his behaviour as adults. When this inevitably fails, you can strip him of his Xbox until he modifies his attitude. Then you can return his console once he is aware of how he affects other members of the household.
Teen, 13 years old written by Im young-not dumb

JaffaGiraffe, you are the only user on this website I have seen that has any sense. Most people on here are parents that can't understand that their kid likes something and that activity happens to be gaming. I love to play Destiny 2, and that is all I get to do for fun every day. This is not an addiction, I just find this activity to be the only fun activity available to me on weekdays. I recommend that parents should try to get into gaming with their kid. Either let them do what they like to do (only for 3 hours or less) or do it with them. Playing Fortnite as a family can be very fun. I love playing with my dad. Shooter games do not make kids into school shooters, but they do teach kids to work as a team with other players. They may not know the people that they play with, but that is good. They are meeting new people in a way that doesn't involve worrying about that person's looks, age, or nationality. All that matters in gaming is skill, something that is very important but forgotten in today's world. Not everyone deserves a trophy, and place rankings in video games teach this lesson in a very gentle manner. I love games and would find no meaning in life if I couldn't play any video games again. As of this moment, they are the only fun thing in my life. Besides, what is the point of life if it's all work?
Teen, 13 years old written by Sbhouse

I ask my dad that but he's a addicted to work so he doesn't understand why any one would do anything other than work he thinks every thing else is a waste of time so he doesn't let me play games
Adult written by Morgan L.

You are the parent. You are in control. You have the choice to take away what ever you want for a good reason. You can control the internet on the Xbox (Which you need for Fortnite). If you find a website that can control the internet you can hook it up to the Xbox and make it shut off and turn on whenever you like. There are also tools for parents to see what your child is doing on the Xbox or Playstaion. Any messages or friends or activity. You won't be a bad mom, he will get over the fact that you can control it. Yeah he'll have a tantrum but it's worth it in the end.
Teen, 14 years old written by AldultishGambino

Fortnite is also a big deal at my school. I'm the only one of my friends who doesn't have it. I used to a have a moderate addiction to technology. a few things you could do that worked on me is 1. move the console into a living room or family room to monitor him more closely. 2. set a bedtime. I know you said that you don't want to be mean but, staying up until 5 am is unhealthy and could do real damage. 3. Talk to him without being confrontational and set reasonable guidelines. Tell him how your feeling and tell him he has to cut down on screen time if your arguments make sense (which they do) and your suggestions aren't crazy he won't go bananas. I'm his age and that's worked on me.
Teen, 13 years old written by Sbhouse

Why is it always kids my age that know how to parent better than their parents I mean I don't like fortnight but I love Minecraft so I play it till between 12 and 1 a.m. without dad knowing because I'm not allowed to play computer games and night is the only time he's not on guard
Adult written by Catherinehp

You are not alone. Fortnite is all the rage with these boys. My son loves it. I am concerned as well. I am considering severely limiting it, but will eliminate it if necessary to avoid his becoming addicted or obsessed with it. I initially okd it because it was not involving real people, just zombies. But it is very enjoyable for the boys as they play together and absolutely cannot wait to play it again. So far my son gets off without much trouble, after a few minutes reminding. But I am concerned this is becoming a problem. Let me tell you BE THE PARENT no one else is willing to have the backbone to be. YOU have the power and deep down he needs you to stand up for/to him. He needs limits,& no matter how much he protests, stand strong. You love him and know what is best. Too bad if the other kids all get to do it nonstop. You cant let that bother you. Good luck and again, you are not alone! If you need help, ask someone for help distracting, creating rewards for good behavior that might include some game time, or get a therapist to help. Hugs to you! :)
Teen, 13 years old written by Swiftstrike

I am a 13-year-old in the eighth grade, and my parents have decided to take my PS4 away. They told me it's because of my younger brother's grades (mine are perfectly fine, I get straight A's and am an honor student). They spoil him and put the blame on my games (His grades aren't bad as they contain a couple A's and C's he has potential and can get straight A's with just a little effort). I've tried to explain that I can simply put a password on our accounts but they won't listen. The thing is when I'm on the computer watching my history documentaries (I love them and can't live a day without them) my brother will cry and try to force me off so he can play Roblox (He's 9 yrs old). Because we don't have the Ps4 anymore the only thing he will do is pester my parents and I until they give in and let him play. They're definitely more strict now and have made his bedtime at 8:00 but I feel as if he's still spoiled. Should I try to lower my parent's expectations from him or should I push him to do better?
Parent written by James D.

I am a divorced father of 3, have been in a wonderful relationship with a woman and her two children for past 10 years. Her children are 11 1/2 and 13 1/2 yes old. We have lived as blended family for 8 years. We felt same about video games in beginning, we both dislike and thought they were a waste of life. About 5 years ago we bought an Xbox and agreed that since our kids were active physically and were outdoors everyday with sports etc that it was ok for us to allow. Now, 5 years later her 11 1/2 year old has spent last year in his room everyday. Refuses to go outside, plays one sport (one weekday practice one weekend game and spends rest of his entire life playing. Currently violent games with headsets talking to strangers online while he plays. Ism injured and at home and mom is working. She is now supporting it and gets defensive if I say it’s not right. He has already had issues with acting his age (he acts and talks like he’s 7 or 8). Her other boy will spend hours staring at his phone. When she gets home he acts as if he hasn’t been on phone and asks her for some me home time and goes rt back on it. I love these children with all my heart and it’s very difficult to sit here day in day out and watch these kids spend life’s on screens. Everything I’m opposed to and she used to be opposed to. She refuses to look at studies and even denies they are using screens that much. It’s currently making me separate from them and our relationships. They have a hard time behaving, telling truth or handling any life situation. Every day is Groundhog Day. What or how can I show them the dangers or the effects of screen time and staying inside rooms to game everyday. How can she see the effects and relate them to the screen time? Please, I love these people but am just about to accept they are different now and it’s time to go our deprecate ways.
Parent of a 14 year old written by Claire B.

Hi,I've got a similar situation.i have 3 children,my older son is 15. He hasn't been to school since June,he doesn't go anywhere with friends or family, he just plays Xbox.at the moment he has it 11 hours a day,I know you will think I'm crazy but when i threaten to reduce time he goes mad.i have tried GP,hypnotist ,counselling etc His dad committed suicide 7 years ago so yes he's had it tough but this is always his excuse for everything! I'm so stressed,single,working and looking after theee kids,don't know what else to do?
Adult written by Catherinehp

God bless you, take away the xbox or remove the games you dont approve of or change the password. You can do it, it sounds like you have already tried a bunch of things. You are the one who knows. Teen tantrums are the worst. Call for help if needed. Consult Empowering Parents online. Very very good.
Parent written by Michelle M

My son is 15 and I'm struggling with getting him out of his room for anything other than school, chores and meals. He has struggled with ADHD and has never really had any friends which has basically allowed him to be introverted. I totally accept this about him as I am somewhat introverted myself. He's a freshman in high school and is having the best academic year ever. His behavior is under control and he is making better decisions. For these reasons, I have allowed him to play the game (Overwatch) more than he has in the past. Thanks to Verizon I have a modem in my house that I can control through an App on my phone. Parents: If you don't have it already, please look into it. It's wonderful. If he doesn't do as he is instructed or mouths off over the phone, I can turn off the wifi and he cannot play the game. Typically, my son was playing from the time he finished chores and homework, which is around 5pm EST until 11pm EST during the week. He wakes up on time for school so playing this late has never been a problem. However, recently he becomes irritated when I walk into his room to talk to him about something or I suggest we do something together just so that he can break away from the game. I talked to him several times about self-discipline and gave him the opportunity to work on limitations himself. A few weeks ago, we had a talk and I placed a new time restriction on the wifi giving him play time from 7pm to 11pm. He was very upset over this but agreed to come out of his room until the wifi turned on at 7pm. He has not been out of his room any other time other then when the wifi is turned off. I should add that on weekends, he plays nonstop from the time he wakes up until 1, 2 or 3am; sometimes later. Saturday night, I woke at 3:50am to the sound of him talking to friends on the game. Immediately, I rolled over, grabbed my phone and shut off the wifi. The game has been off since. Last night, we had a sit down and I told him that I was going to change his weekly restrictions to 7pm to 10pm vs. 11pm. He threw a fit and ended up crying hysterically. I have tried to wean back his game time but am now at a point where I will be calling his doctor. He actually asked me to call the doctor because he feels depressed. Depressed because I have placed restrictions on his game time. I understand that he has made "online friends" and that he socializes through the game playing but these kind of relationships do not prepare him for the real world and real life circumstances. The crazy thing is that he has a 19 year old brother that moved out a few months ago because I placed restrictions on his game playing when he ended up failing his college courses, due to game playing. He has watched his brother exhibit addictive behavior for a few years and is now seeing him fail at life. He's not working, doesn't have a driver's license, no car and is taking the same college courses again this semester because he failed them the first time around. It is a real battle that I have been losing for a few years and I am just at a loss....
Adult written by Catherinehp

Yes, this has to stop, and kudos to you for trying to help him curb the behavior. It will have to be done with some serious disagreements and possibly you will need outside help. Dont be afraid to ask for it. You are doing the right thing so do not let thr addiction talk you into believing it is not a problem. It clearly is and you are to be commended for your concern and action. Keep trying and stand strong for your son. He’ll be back. Stand firm, and be pleasant and loving as possible while being the parent he needs.
Adult written by Private P.

ADHD does not mean anything. French are laughing at us because we give kids all these medicines they don’t need. All ya need is to switch on that discipline. For the gaming problem. It’s normal, my children have gone through the problem and spend time outside nowadays.
Adult written by James I.

Hi Michelle, Overwatch can be very addictive, even to people with good self control. Even when he plays only after he finishes his work, it still looks like he's playing at least 3 hours per day. You should know that his strong reaction is not uncommon. Parents struggling with children abusing technology can motivate the kid to spend time more productively by facilitating a 4-week tech fast. It looks to me like he's on the verge of addictive behavior. Are you concerned you might have a family gene for video game addiction? I'm well studied in this area, although not a doctor. Feel free to pick my brain
Adult written by Lester303

Hello, James. You should see the faces of my students (10-11 y.o.) when I announce a Chromebook-free period. Some have even admitted to being "addicted." All this tech has saved a lot of paper, but robotized teaching and learning.
Adult written by John S.

James, I'm interesting in picking your brain about your experience to chat about your ideas for tech breaks. I'm not sure how to send you a direct message in this forum though.
Parent of a 8 year old written by Sam R.

My son is 8 and has been a gamer for years already. We have had the conversation with him about online safety and what infor not to share and he is really good with it. He wears headphones so I can only hear his side of conversations and there doesn’t seem to be anything bad about who he is talking with. He does have some friends from school online too so it is good. My worry is that he spends too much time gaming. I like it that he is playing with friends and they aren’t actually messing up my house but is there really any good in this? I feel like a bad parent! He is a happy kid goes to school with the regular kid arguments about not liking school but over all happy. I feel like I have created this by allowing him to be on but he loves it. Do I appreciate that he is the next generation and this is how they play or so I make him get off and join the living again?
Adult written by James I.

Sam, It looks like your son has developed a habit that is taking away from other important aspects of growing up. My area of expertise is helping parents struggling with children abusing technology to improve behavior by facilitating a tech fast. If you're worried about how much time he spends gaming, you might consider going device free. A lot of kids see growth that doesn't occur while they're inside gaming.
Adult written by Kei T.

Your kid maybe not addicted to the game itself but of the community in it. Making friends and more. Not always the gameplay. Don't always think that your kid is just addicted, you may not even fully know what counts as addicted. But I will say that your kid could have a different addiction to a game rather than spending time on it but money. I had a bit of a money problem with a certain game. Causing me to spend around 3 thousand dollars on it while in middle school.
Teen, 15 years old written by Sesh

Before we start let me just say that i feel that i am not addicted however others are and if that is you please find some form of help. Anyway as a 15 year old i often find that my playstation is a great way to learn and make friends from all walks of life. I have personally met one of my best friends to this day (from hong kong) over 'The Division' which i play on my playstation 4. Although i will admit i get angry over such games from time to time i feel that parents often mistake this for blind rage caused by an 'addiction' rather than just the game's immersive affect that it commonly possess over the user (gamers are competitive and anger can mean we are enjoying ourselves). This almost always leads to my parents assuming the worst, then taking the easy option of just banning me all out. All i and many other teenage gamers ask is that parents try to understand oir hobby and think twice before yelling and punishing us due to some bullshit article you heard on CNN about mental health and gamings bad side, written by some overly cynical journalist that hasnt even looked at a video game. Just dont forget that there is a good side to gaming that benefits the people playing it.
Parent of a 13 year old written by Harding M.

I am a parent of a 13 yr old boy who is in 8th grade. He has been using electronics since he was 4 yrs which includes cellular phones, nintendo, x box, playstation and now PC. He spends all of his time streaming on his Samsung 8 or on a triple monitor Gaming PC with fiber optics internet. He has all the bells and whistles but having invested a lot of money I wonder about some of the games that he is playing. I am allowing a lot of his free time to play a game called OVERWATCH. This game has many levels. He has obtained a Grandmaster level but he is so emotionally involve with the game that it seems to create his happiness and suddenly his anger and depression.. I have never seen him get so upset when he loses. This is team playing and many time there are players that get : boosted" with money to higher levels where they dont belong. Blizzard entertainment developed this game and its very addicting. I want to support his gaming because at his age he is very good but to see him so emotionally involved with this game as a parent I do not know my options Its very difficult especially tonight where he started comparing his losses to his life? Hopefully I will have some snowboard equipment for him soon and it can take away the PC focus. OVERWATCH is a very addictive game
Adult written by James I.

Hey Harding, Your son seems to play a lot of "addictive" games. If you think it is a problem, you're probably right. I work with people who need to cut back on video games, and one of the best ways to do this is with a prolonged technology fast. I definitely encourage you to get his focus on things like snowboarding to get him off the screen for a few hours.
Teen, 13 years old written by ahuman13

I, myself, am a video game addict. Two years ago I've taken a step back to see what my condition is, and it's real bad. My grades are already average to below average, never exceeding or beyond (not that it ever was) I hate going outside (always have) and my love of video games started young, around 3-4 years of age with a simple DS and laptop. I always find myself never wanting to do homework because I'm always thinking about my favorite games. I doodle video game characters on my papers. Anything BUT the assignment. The assignments I have online are the ones I actually do, because they're usually on the platform I play, which is the PC. If it's a paper copy, I will rarely, if not, never do it. I want to stop this, but I don't have the self discipline. I've experience all sorts of punishment, so I don't care anymore of the consequences. I'm passing in school, but barely. I've even told my parents ways to curb this, which is making my brother and I work for our game times. (Note: My parents aren't really strict on hours of play. We could play for hours if we want.) Such examples are cleaning dishes and making our beds to earn the time, or maybe paired chores. But it's never worked. I even told them to make me go on errands, since it'll give me the sense of responsibility and it makes me go outside, interact with people, and gives me a goal to accomplish. But no, because "I'm too young." I WANT to pass this year with good grades, not decent, but video games are taking my mind. I want to save at least half of the mind for studies and school. Does anyone have any idea that might work with the resources a scholar like I might have? (Also Note: I'm unusually depressed all the time, so games make me happy. But the sense of responsibility like going on errands, and ONLY ERRANDS makes me feel happy too, but I've never had the joy of that.)
Parent written by alison a.

I really appreciate you writing this and being that honest...you have insight far beyond your years. Let me suggest you get involved in a hobby or sport, like 4H (not just farm animals), a military junior cadet program, volunteering somewhere, a sport (even if not athletic) or a club at school that keeps you there and has you engaging with other people. You can choose not to get hooked on the games. You can call your friends on the phone and talk! Read a book, I know it doesn't sound fun but it really is!
Adult written by Shannon Z.

I'm impressed by your intelligence and thoughtfulness. I signed up to reply to your post. If you are not finding support at home...speak to a teacher, a librarian, your dr. Any one of these people would likely get involved in helping you find good ways to manage the issues you feel you are facing in your life. I'm pulling for you. All my best.
Parent written by Neftali P.

I am a parent. My 19 year old son graduated from High School on top of his class, then he went to college. We caught him playing a few times at 3 AM when he had to be at school at 0730. He missed assignments , he cut classes and lost his job. His grades, even if he passed his classes, are low. We tried everything from therapy, setting up playing times, etc. He did OK during the finals, but afterwards, he went back at it. Last weekend, he played for 2 days straight only coming out of the room to go to the restroom. Then we got his grades (2.12 GPA), which cause for his to loose his scholarship, so I had it, and threw away his keyboard (paid $150 for it) and took away his PC (paid over $2,000 for it). I understand gaming in moderation is not bad. That's where I am at right now. I have a talk with him, and told him he may be out of college altogether and needs to decide what he wants to do with his life. That's where I am at today. Thoughts? No I am not taking my son to a freaking pediatrician!
Parent of a 18+ year old written by Louise S.

Since my 18 year old got his ps4 ive grown to dislike him, and i hate that! He's my best friend but when he gets on his ps4 and goes online im terrified of him! He throws things,he cusses, he's kicked 3 doors off their hinges,he kicked my radiator and cracked the pipe and hes put his hands through my tall mirror and my pets are terrified of him too! I don't know what to do as threats dont do anything or even taking proactive action it makes things worse hes also got Cystic Fibrosis which doesn't help as its depressing to know your likely to die before 20 years. Does anybody have any advice??? Much appreciated.
Adult written by Private P.

Take him to a therapist. This may be blind rage or anger over losing a game. I’m sorry for his Cystic Fibrosis. Talk to a pastor maybe.
Parent of a 12 year old written by Erin F.

I been replying this same thing because I want to make sure every parent who think gaming is bad really takes in and reads what I have to say about it because it is important they weigh the pros and cons out in the world and be happy their kids are gaming and not out doing drugs! FYI I talked to my pediatrician only cause I wanted his advice see what he thought his response was there is so many kids out there that are not allowed to have video games so they go out to find something else to do and what these kids find are DRUGS! He said he has seen kids who game stay out of drugs and those who don’t get into drugs and this I know because I see it everyday, and think how thankful my kid is a gamer addicted to games instead of drugs, hey she eats she does her chores she may argue about it but any kid would playing games or not, they would argue about doing chores, I really hope parents take the time and really read this and think about what I say here before replying take it in and I think you may find that gaming is better then most crap that’s out there today. My daughter who is 12 started gaming at 3 with me, I did that because I wanted her to work her brain not sit and just watch tv, which is PASSIVE. You watch tv your brain is just sitting there, no thinking just watching. As for addiction goes, I would rather my daughter be addicted to video gaming and computers then addicted to DRUGS, like meth and Heroin. Parents should back off, and be happy their kids are not out drinking and doing drugs like some kids I have seen while I was growing up and see when I drive down the street. My dad started me out with nes and Sega and because of that I stayed out of trouble and never had a drug problem my entire life because of that I look like I am 20 at age 35. Gaming saves our kids from doing drugs, gaming is not unhealthy, but DRUGS ARE. Not only that my daughter struggles in math really bad and Minecraft has helped her in so many ways with math that now she is at grade level and no longer needs the I.E.P for help. Her reading level is high school 10th grade and she is in 6th Grade, she is supposed to be in 7th because she got held back that’s when I started buying Xbox instead of it just being the wii and that has her now being put in her correct grade, 7th. She started playing Xbox at 6. And because of that I do not have to worry about drugs or her struggling in the future when she starts college and get a a job, she wants to be a game developer, like me I am a computer tech but have total interest in game Developing
Teen, 13 years old written by Sbhouse

You are correct it's nice to finally see an adult saying this it shows that some actually have a couple brain cells
Adult written by Skull F.

I am a video game developer and I have learned that parents actually think video games rot their kids brains and the truth is NO it doesn't. A lot of kids are actually really smart because of video games, and believe it or not video games actually teach people things. We don't just normally go through training everyday of what to do if a terrorist attack hits us. When I was younger I didn't even know how to use a gun if I needed to until I played Call of duty. Limit your child a little bit but not a lot, limiting him/she to much actually will make their minds go blank and they will be miserable.
Parent written by alison a.

Call of Duty didn't teach you how to use a gun...come on. Before you claim to know how to use firearms, please take a real course because they are very dangerous in the hands of people who think they can use them because they played video games. Now, are you all doing any research on how these games affect our children, suck them in, help them create new online worlds so they are detached to the real world?
Parent of a 18+ year old written by Louise S.

I kind of agree with that. My son has learnt more on history playing certain war games thsn he did he school despite the fact he becomes an absolute monster whilst hes on them!
Parent of a 12 year old written by Erin F.

I totally agree with you. My daughter who is 12 started gaming at 3 with me, I did that because I wanted her to work her brain not sit and just watch tv, which is PASSIVE. You watch tv your brain is just sitting there, no thinking just watching. As for addiction goes, I would rather my daughter be addicted to video gaming and computers then addicted to DRUGS, like meth and Heroin. Parents should back off, and be happy their kids are not out drinking and doing drugs like some kids I have seen while I was growing up and see when I drive down the street. My dad started me out with nes and Sega and because of that I stayed out of trouble and never had a drug problem my entire life because of that I look like I am 20 at age 35. Gaming saves our kids from doing drugs, gaming is not unhealthy, but DRUGS ARE. Not only that my daughter struggles in math really bad and Minecraft has helped her in so many ways with math that now she is at grade level and no longer needs the I.E.P for help. Her reading level is high school 10th grade and she is in 6th Grade, she is supposed to be in 7th because she got held back that’s when I started buying Xbox instead of it just being the wii and that has her now being put in her correct grade, 7th. She started playing Xbox at 6. And because of that I do not have to worry about drugs or her struggling in the future when she starts college and get a a job, she wants to be a game developer, like me I am a computer tech but have total interest in game developing.
Teen, 16 years old written by c456bohmsn

Yeah I agree with the dude who said let them limit themselves. I just had a small argument with my father a few minutes ago. Basically my mom broke her wrist and isn't able to do much because she is still recovering so my brother, sister, and I do our best to help her our around the house when she needs it. However a new DLC was released just today for my video game and I had a long day at school and at practice and just wanted to eat study for some tests and enjoy the new DLC on my game. However my sister shouted at me to come help her and my brother do dishes and some other things because my dad said to. However the thing was I got really mad because it took me 20 minutes to load into the lobby I was in and I shouted a few things like "are you giddying me this is bull krap I did this stuff last night" and that set my dad off and he said "ok that's enough you can't play the rest of the night" I got even more mad after completing chores but just went back downstairs because I wasn't in a mood to talk. Then my dad came back a little bit later and said I told you to shut down and few other things and asked if what I said was appropriate behavior? I answered yes because I was still in a bad mood from the long day at school I had. He said "you best just shut off the Xbox now" so I closed the door and went back to playing because I was really mad and just wasn't caring. My father then caught me and yelled at me "you best just do what I ask" I responded to him by saying calmly "why I haven't done anything wrong and he said their are statics out their that say this kind of behavior came from playing to much Xbox." I was just really mad at this point and didn't want to hear anymore from my father so I shut off my game and went to my room and studied a little bit and found this site when I went to see this "statistics" for my self. I haven't found any yet but anyways I don't thing my dad understands me really at all. So now I'm sitting on my bed typing out this message to all you parents out their who have teenagers who play video games a lot just to let it be and let them limit themselves but limit them a little bit during week days to like 10:00 PM EST. Then on weekend when they don't have school or something like that let them stay up as late as they want as long as they don't have anything important going on. Anyways so I've been sitting here thinking my dad really made me mad and he doesn't understand I'm one of the good kids. I go to school and get half decent grades and I study for my tests and stuff and I go to and from work and do everything else my parents ask of me to do. Now I understand I have to help around the house I'm not upset about that I'm mad because my father fails to realize he does the same thing in a different manner. When I'm playing my game I'm in a relaxed stage where I just want to relax. Only difference is he comes home from work and does some chores like I do then sits on the couch drinks a beer and watches the news and helps my mom when she needs help. Now what I don't understand is if I do the same thing why in the world are you taking away the thing I pay for and makes me relax away from me. He doesn't think this way, plus on the first night my mom broke her wrist it was a Thursday night a school night I stayed up until 12:15 PM EST to help her and make sure she was comfortable. What did my dad, brother, and sister do? They went to bed. Sure my dad stayed with my mom at the hospital for awhile I mean I was their also. However I stayed up later then usual to make sure she was comfortable and her own husband son, and daughter went to bed like any other normal night, while I stayed up and made sure she was comfortable. And all I did was help her most of the first night. And yet I'm not allowed to relax in the manner I enjoy so this way I can relive some of my stress from the past few days. Any parents out their reading this just let them be eventually your child will learn when to set limits and what they have to do to be successful sure it will make them mad sometimes but in the end they will learn. Please take this advise with a kind heart coming from a 16 year old who just wants to relax but can't no matter how helpful he's been. And father if you ever read this take it with a light heart you really made me mad for doing nothing more then talking back a little bit and I could act way worse. I've only ever had one detention in school for saying the word "gay". And other than that I'm a good grade I get all A's and B's, I got a job and I give my brother's and sister rides to places when they need them, so ask yourself, Why did you take away my process to relax?
Parent of a 12 year old written by Erin F.

I am a parent and I replied to the game developer above here what I said so you can show your dad and maybe he will back off. Drugs ruin our kids not games! Here was my reply—>I totally agree with you. My daughter who is 12 started gaming at 3 with me, I did that because I wanted her to work her brain not sit and just watch tv, which is PASSIVE. You watch tv your brain is just sitting there, no thinking just watching. As for addiction goes, I would rather my daughter be addicted to video gaming and computers then addicted to DRUGS, like meth and Heroin. Parents should back off, and be happy their kids are not out drinking and doing drugs like some kids I have seen while I was growing up and see when I drive down the street. My dad started me out with nes and Sega and because of that I stayed out of trouble and never had a drug problem my entire life because of that I look like I am 20 at age 35. Gaming saves our kids from doing drugs, gaming is not unhealthy, but DRUGS ARE. Not only that my daughter struggles in math really bad and Minecraft has helped her in so many ways with math that now she is at grade level and no longer needs the I.E.P for help. Her reading level is high school 10th grade and she is in 6th Grade, she is supposed to be in 7th because she got held back that’s when I started buying Xbox instead of it just being the wii and that has her now being put in her correct grade, 7th. She started playing Xbox at 6. And because of that I do not have to worry about drugs or her struggling in the future when she starts college and get a a job, she wants to be a game developer, like me I am a computer tech but have total interest in game depveleping.
Parent of a 5 year old written by Christian O.

With all due respect, I question the validity of this advice. I mean, "talk to your pediatrician"? Are those people even aware of the effects of media? They are there to medicate illnesses of the mind. I doubt they would even the most remote of knowledge about that (with all due respect to pediatricians, of course.)
Parent of a 10 year old written by Kathy K.

It's so much more complicated and difficult than that. And talking to your pediatrician? HA! They do not know nor are they trained in this area at all. I expected something more nuanced and perhaps even research-based from this site.
Parent of a 5 year old written by Christian O.

My God, I could not agree more with you. That sounded even silly! Talk to your pediatrician? yeah, that was not well thought out.
Kid, 11 years old

My advice is let them limit it themselves unless the way they're doing it is crazy. when my parents started giving rules it just made me want to play more.
Adult written by Eliza A.

At 14 the child should have regular weekly chores and even errands if your teen is mature enough to navigate home town alone. A 14yr should also be earning any games or extras for their gaming by prearranged chores or activity you agree upon. Turn off internet or WiFi at bed time and try waking up earlier for school. My son found he is better prepared if he has 20-30 minutes to himself before school. Also remember that computers are the now and it's a must know for them. I'm learning today kids interact with each other in these games and in school as long as you install responsibility and morals and love the soon to be adult will be ok.
Teen, 13 years old written by Pufffy

I myself have been told I was a video game addict... This started when I was 6 years old and has gotten worse. Trust me you can't stop this kind of behavior. If you stop it it gets worse... I suggest if you want them to stop to tell them they need to earn a monthly gold membership by doing chores and hanging out with family. Don't buy them year gold unless they really earned it. (this is only helpful for children who are addicted to Xbox)
Grandparent of a 14 year old written by Pauline C.

I am a Grandmother called a special guardian in the U.K. to a 14 year old boy. He was given an Xbox by a family member about a year ago. He has become completely addicted to it. Shows no interest in leaving the house. I can't believe how much he has changed. I am dreading next Wednesday that is the day they return to school after a six week break. He has been on Xbox untill early hours of morning or later. Meaning can't get up in morning. Of course once at school he will have to be off Xbox early. Up at 07:30 in morning. Just dreading this. I will practically have to beg him to come off Xbox early.
Teen, 13 years old written by Pufffy

Start taking away his Xbox cord that connects to the wall and the Xbox while he's asleep. Tell him he can earn it back by doing chores around the house and spending time with family.
Parent of a 15 year old written by M K.

My son 15 years old is addicted to xbox, I need help, I have tried everything , taking his box away, his cell phone, plan an outing, bribe him with money, NOTHING works. I am to the point I am thinking to let go and let him destroy his life. He seats there 16 hours per day and God forbid if I say something.... then I am the worst mother, the worst human , and I just need to get a life and leave him alone he says. PLEASAE help me, he said he will run away if I take his Xbox away. HELP< please someone help me
Adult written by Exie-Phillip P.

im 27 , married, have a very good job, have an active social life and i play about 5-6 hours per day. on my day offs, i play up to 16 hours. seriously, 16. :) my husband is ok with it since he plays too. sometimes, we play together. but the thing is, there are days when i feel that i dont want to play. usually, about 3x per week. it just hits me that no, not today. . . my parents told me to stop playing at 14 ---at that time it was just GTA, Red Alert and Warcraft... they said i was an addict, i hated them for sooooo long.. i was forced to curb it ... but it just creeps back..just like a drug..... when i got older, maybe 19....i just stopped. decided that i was done with online/offline games.. but the damage with me parents can not be repaired, so sad to say..... then my parents discovered the internet, started playing zynga poker and ended up spending more money that i ever did on extra chips. hahah there was a point where my mom would put the blanket over her head at 3am because it was cold but still continue to play. (she looked like an eskimo ) .. talk about irony. she was able to curb it, bdw, after about 4 years. now im back at it again. . my point is, kids will learn to control it after some time. its the same story for my husband , :)
Adult written by Con T.

I have had to deal with this problem with my son. If they really are addicted then all you can do is stop enabling them by taking away the games and getting them to find healthy things to do. My house my rules. It is a battle. But truely addicted people have a brain rewire, change personality and do not believe they are addicted. As a parent, you have to intervene because they are out of control and cannot stop. Eventually they do not have a life apart from the game or computer screen. The games need to go so that they cannot game in your home, or they will eventually end up socially isolated and a failure in life. You have to stay strong and not expect them to understand. Eventually they recover some sense or, if a yound adult, they move out and make their own choices. Real life without the comfort of the family home is a good teacher once they are an adult. SOmetimes they have to hit bottom like a drug addict. Here are some web resources that helped me; websites such as empoweringparents.com and familiesmanagingmedia.com If there is true addiction then go to olganon.org. Parents, spouses and loved ones who have gone through this have shared their experience there. it will help you to make sense of it. conductdisorders.com is also a very good place to get support if your child is being difficult.
Teen, 15 years old written by Jardarn

I wouldn't stop it. If you stop it, it just makes thing worse (I would know, I am a kid who plays games). You should start by lessening their time on games. If you stop it, they will never leave the house and never want to do anything anymore. They will ignore you, so no signs of affection, and will is anything for their video games back.
Teen, 13 years old written by Pufffy

I can't stop either I've tried ... i just had this notification blinking in my brain to get on xbox
Teen, 13 years old written by Sbhouse

My notification is take dad's phone away whenever he's on it late like he does to me trust me without his phone he'd probably have to drink his blues away
Teen, 17 years old written by BluPancakes

Im a frequent gamer myself and I believe the best thing you can do with your son is to try to play games with him figure out what hes doing online and connect with him all in all. Also if your son is addicted to video games you shouldn't try to break that habit, He enjoys what he does and there is nothing wrong with that. Did you know that playing video games can give you better memory, vision sensory and faster reflexes so honestly If he was my son I wouldn't do anything about it as video games can prepare them :-).
Adult written by Con T.

Games are fun, but a true addict cannot moderate. It's more then just a bad habit to some. If kids are failing in school and loose their real life friends then something is wrong that needs action taking before it affects their adult life.
Teen, 13 years old written by Sbhouse

But a true addict is rare if I got hungry because of wasting time on I'd be quick to get a job like if you can't work for your food because of games that's when I see a problem plus these "addicts" can make money from youtube
Parent of a 12 year old written by Laurir R.

I think P.G. who emailed may 2017 was writing about my son. I have a 12 yr old, who is acting the same way. I would like some suggestions on how to break this addiction. Should he have a certain amount of time allowed on gaming systems or none at all for a while. What is the best way to make the break for them?
Parent of a 12 year old written by Erin F.

Before you go on about addiction, let’s get something straight, DRUGS LIKE HEROIN AND METH KILL! GAMES, THEY DONT, I think I would back off your kid, and be happy they’re gaming and not out doing drugs which is far worse then gaming and gaming would be no different then being addicted to a movie or tv series and all that is passive and don’t exercise the brain like gaming does! Anyways this my experience growing Up in the world of gaming, I am 35 and never had drug problems because games kept me entertained! This here was a reply earlier and this will be my reply to every parent who complains about their kid gaming! My daughter who is 12 started gaming at 3 with me, I did that because I wanted her to work her brain not sit and just watch tv, which is PASSIVE. You watch tv your brain is just sitting there, no thinking just watching. As for addiction goes, I would rather my daughter be addicted to video gaming and computers then addicted to DRUGS, like meth and Heroin. Parents should back off, and be happy their kids are not out drinking and doing drugs like some kids I have seen while I was growing up and see when I drive down the street. My dad started me out with nes and Sega and because of that I stayed out of trouble and never had a drug problem my entire life because of that I look like I am 20 at age 35. Gaming saves our kids from doing drugs, gaming is not unhealthy, but DRUGS ARE. Not only that my daughter struggles in math really bad and Minecraft has helped her in so many ways with math that now she is at grade level and no longer needs the I.E.P for help. Her reading level is high school 10th grade and she is in 6th Grade, she is supposed to be in 7th because she got held back that’s when I started buying Xbox instead of it just being the wii and that has her now being put in her correct grade, 7th. She started playing Xbox at 6. And because of that I do not have to worry about drugs or her struggling in the future when she starts college and get a a job, she wants to be a game developer, like me I am a computer tech but have total interest in game depveleping.
Teen, 13 years old written by Pufffy

It's not very easy to do that ma'am. I'm a 13 year old girl video game addict yes. My mother has tried to break me I just keep getting it and I believe your child will too.. Good luck it's not gonna be easy but I suggest telling him to get off the Xbox before 9 and take away his headset or controller at 9 and don't give it back to him till after school make him earn it by doing chores give him gold when he earns it make him go watch movies with you tell him to go to a friends house or a family members house or try having him try sports. hope this helped
Adult written by Con T.

Start by trying a moderation strategy. if that doesn't work then the games have got to go. See my comment july 27 2017
Parent of a 12 year old written by Erin F.

This is a reply to every parent who thinks games are bad! Or think they need to go! I totally agree with you. My daughter who is 12 started gaming at 3 with me, I did that because I wanted her to work her brain not sit and just watch tv, which is PASSIVE. You watch tv your brain is just sitting there, no thinking just watching. As for addiction goes, I would rather my daughter be addicted to video gaming and computers then addicted to DRUGS, like meth and Heroin. Parents should back off, and be happy their kids are not out drinking and doing drugs like some kids I have seen while I was growing up and see when I drive down the street. My dad started me out with nes and Sega and because of that I stayed out of trouble and never had a drug problem my entire life because of that I look like I am 20 at age 35. Gaming saves our kids from doing drugs, gaming is not unhealthy, but DRUGS ARE. Not only that my daughter struggles in math really bad and Minecraft has helped her in so many ways with math that now she is at grade level and no longer needs the I.E.P for help. Her reading level is high school 10th grade and she is in 6th Grade, she is supposed to be in 7th because she got held back that’s when I started buying Xbox instead of it just being the wii and that has her now being put in her correct grade, 7th. She started playing Xbox at 6. And because of that I do not have to worry about drugs or her struggling in the future when she starts college and get a a job, she wants to be a game developer, like me I am a computer tech but have total interest in game depveleping.
Parent of a 6, 12, and 13 year old written by John T.

I'm a 40 something year old male gamer who is happily married with 3 beautiful kids. My wife doesn't game, my two girls game a bit but my13yr old son, like his father enjoys playing video games a little too much. We have, during the week, a household policy for the kids. Homework and study, chores and when done, your time is your own until 9PM. With the policy, I found that my boy was rushing homework or not doing it at all, neglecting his chores or going to bed well after his assigned bed time. He was tired, moody, grumpy, resentful, steadily getting worse since he was about 11 years old. For those adults who aren't gamers and can't relate to the addictive qualities of many games, it is in many cases, very similar to reading a very good book or watching a tv series with a very good story line. It can be difficult to keep our selves in suspense by forcing our own selves to do a more important task such as sleep instead of continuing on to the next exciting chapter. As adults we are hopefully better at disciplining ourselves to prioritise but it can be difficult - "I know it's midnight but just one more chapter". Kids don't have that discipline. Gaming achievement and progression is more interactive than a book and the game never ends until it becomes boring. There's also an element of sport and competition in many games which brings with it bragging rights. More time means more progression and a more competitive edge which in turn allows progressing even further and being able to do more stuff within the game as well as peer recognition. Then there's the element of team based gameplay which is present in many MMOs and tactical shooters. If a team member doesn't achieve at similar rates, then they start to fall behind and become a liability - effectively holding the team back from being able to take on the next in game boss for that fancy equipment or be competitive in the league. Back to my boy, My screentime policy was great and all but my boy didn't have the mental discipline to maintain it and I was struggling to enforce it. He'd also do everything he could to work around it. I've turned that around a bit. On the XBOX one and PC platforms, Microsoft provide a way to enforce screen time with child accounts. My boys logon account cannot game after 9:00PM at night during the week and he can't game prior to 5PM during the week except on Fridays. The restriction gives him plenty of warning before it drops him and while it was difficult for him at first and he was moody and whiny about it, he's getting more sleep and doing what he's supposed to do when he comes home from school now. He feels better about that as do I. He interacts with his mother and siblings in more positive ways after school and while he gets his homework and chores done, he also is forced to find other activities to do which he also enjoys. I've also noted that while he is allowed to start gaming from 5PM, he's not desperate to start gaming right on 5PM. With the knowledge that the gaming will stop at 9PM, he now stops gaming at around 8:45PM and says goodnight to his mates until forced shutdown or comes and chats to my wife and I. Weekend is often a bit different but that's ok in my book. He plays a lot of different games MMO RPG - Elder Scrolls Online, SWTOR,Neverwinter. FPS shooters TitanFall/Battlefield/destiny and racing games such as Forza Horizon 3 and ahemGTA5 and a plethora of others including minecraft like games. The restrictions encourage balance, he's no longer tempted to rush or cheat or take shortcuts with his responsibilities just to get more game time in since he can't start gaming any earlier anyway. He's no longer tempted to sacrifice his sleep time and stay up beyond his bedtime talking and gaming with his mates since the system won't let him. My son is now getting sleep, he's getting his homework and chores done, He's better able to absorb what's being taught at school, He reads more and is far more balanced and healthy in his family interaction. His relationship with his Mum and Dad have grown. I don't have to growl at him and nag/lecture him constantly when I come home from work about the things he was supposed to do and didn't or ask him why he's still playing at 10PM when he knows his bedtime is 9PM . My favourite part is he prefers spending his gaming time online gaming with his Dad whether it's cooporative or competitive and sometimes waits for me to come home before he logs online. .
Parent of a 12 year old written by Erin F.

That’s a good way to do it I will do that myself....for this post saying being addicted to a game is bad, well being addicted to a game is far more better then the kids being addited to drugs. Secondly my daughter pediatrician AGREES WITH ME! Drugs kill games save lives as far has her dr feels.
Adult written by J9nKidz

Dad, I cannot thank you enough for sharing this... I am actually a Gamer Mom of sorts. I find much pleasure playing with my kids on Xbox & by myself with my own peers. Now, my one question is: WHERE, WHAT Program is it, that you use that does this Automatic shutdown? Ireally need to know wher this works, how this works, & if it works if MOM is signed into Xbox with the primary user, & if that has to be changed? Please, let me know if you get this. Thank you. I will do my own sluething until then. See if I can figure this out myself! I do not believe in taking it away completely. I believe STRONGLY, & MORE, in Teaching the child corrected behaviours, & SELF-Discipline! Thinking about your child's addiction/obsession to video games in that way, might help some parents turn this "problem" into a Great "learning curve"! NO, it's not the only way that we can teach them self discipline but sometimes it's the biggest problems, that can offer the biggest lessons, & solutions. Anyway thanks
Teen, 16 years old written by NobieFit

Post cont. These games tend to immerse the player and work "in real time" in one way or another. This may give the player the sense that they're really into the world am promotes endless discovery. They also have a ton of achievements which require lots of playtime simply due to being massive altogether. Therefore, prolonged gaming has it's reasons other than solely being addicted. It just comes to time and management among yourself, your kids or anyone else. And there are always solutions to playing for long amounts of time to the point where you're borderline addicted, such as working out, cleaning around the house and making time for other non-gaming activities. Even though I do more than asked, I can still invest a lot of time into video games while still maintaining great grades and staying fit. It all boils down to how you can make time for yourself and others while trying to earn an achievement, completing a storyline and getting competitive online. As for most parents, they might be brought up differently and may not realize that their children can still be productive outside of gaming. P.S. please, parents, get beyond children having the urge to get past the next stage/level as it's not always the case as I explained above.
Teen, 16 years old written by NobieFit

NOTICE: THIS DOES NOT JUSTIFY ADDICTION I'd like to bring up that I'm an active gamer myself and that my dad (at one time) felt that I had been addicted to gaming simply because of how often he saw me spending my time sitting in front of the screen holding a controller with my Xbox on. I myself, had to evaluate my own mindset to see whether or not I was addicted at the time due to my dad's vague observations. Apparently he and I are not in the same vicinity whenever I'm either doing something productive or non-gaming related. During my research to determine whether or not I was an addict, many FPS (first person shooter) games such as CoD, Halo or Battlefield and open world games such as Minecraft and Skyrim came up, to name a few. These titles are easily some of the most known games today in which players of all ages invest a lot of time into. To begin, FPS games are some of the most played games featuring a leveling system determining how long you've played and how well of a player you are. Rank usually measures your seniority (how long you've played) and Kill/Death (K/D) ratios measure your overall difference between your kills and deaths. Now these two play a factor in the extensive playtime of you, your child, or whoever plays these games (besides for fun of course). Personally I see why FPS games are played for hours among hours, due to earning a certain number of kills to bring up K/D or ranking up. K/Ds are a personal goal among the player whether or not they'd care about their performance and ranking up usually helps them unlock in game items and earn achievements. These are pretty simple as they'd explain why many players spend so much time on FPS games. And trust me, leveling up is lengthy depending on how often you play and how well you do within each match. My preference steers towards K/D so I can see whether or not I'm improving, but I do know my limits. If I get a bunch of kills over my deaths for a single gaming session, I either get off or play a different game. This is common between my friends and I to satisfy ourselves and may be the cause for others playing for prolonged periods of time. Open world games such as Minecraft and Skyrim, on the other hand allow you to be creative, get into the story and venture off into an almost infinite spectrum provided by the developers. Leveling up, like FPS games are an essential component of RPGs (Role Playing Games) such as Minecraft, Witcher and Skyrim, which are based upon seniority by playing the game and how you generally play altogether they allow you to create and customize your story and whatnot.
Parent of a 14 year old written by P G.

I am no professional but I am pretty certain that my 14 year old son has a definite video game addiction. And it is to only one game, Call of duty. He was introduced to this by my ex a few years ago. Started off ok, but then his grades dropped to the point that he is barely passing, little to no social interaction unless it was online. He can go days upon days without showering, barely eating, or even seeing daylight and will play from the time he wakes up until early morning hours until he falls asleep. Then the day starts over. He will pass on going places and if I make him go, he is miserable the whole time and I wished that I had just left him at home. The few times that he had a sleepover with a friend or his cousins, he would forget that they are there because he is so wrapped up in the game. Also, he can be playing online, have the computer on, and watch youtube videos on his phone of OTHER people playing call of duty all at the same time. I have the hardest time trying to get him to do chores or anything that does not have call of duty attached to it. I have taken the game away several times only to end up giving it back only for him to start the cycle all over again. I am at my wits end and want to seek professional help. It literally seems that this video game is his life.
Adult written by Con T.

Good move to get professional help from people who understand addiction and are prepared to support you to remove the games completely if they are true addicts. Media and gaming addiction are real. See my post for web resources.
Teen, 14 years old written by ToTheNextLevel

Okay so by the looks of it, I am in a way your son but I'm a girl. I'm 14 too and I play spend hours playing videogames. I usually play one game (on a PlayStation 3) for seriously 5 hours straight. I'll take breaks when my guardians call me for dinner. I say dinner because that's really the only meal I'm awake for and the only I join my family to eat with. I will absolutely scream at online video games. And now that I realize it, if I didn't live in the country, neighbors would probably be calling he cops regularly because of my blood-curdling sounds and actual screeching. No I don't think it's healthy, but I live with my grandparents, and when I fall into a tantrum because some dumb player killed me in one of my games and start screaming, my grandma simply laughs her butt off because it's funny. We joke about my tantrum parties daily. Plus, I decided to move into the basement, and doing this makes it so my poor grandparents don't have to hear me scream as loud as they would if I was upstairs. If you heard me you'd probably think I was being murdered. But besides the anger problems I might make there, what about my gaming addiction? Well, I try to squeeze in some human interaction. Saying this makes me actually cringe because I should be saying "squeeze in some gaming time" than social time with other humans. But what I think really helps me break from my constant screen time is when my dad joins in on the gaming time. We will play for a while (because I'm a daddy's girl, I was hooked on video games when I was super young too), and then we will go outside and ride bikes or something. I feel that when someone can play video games with me and then have fun doing another activity, I can healthfully have fun playing video games. However, I've had to go out to go grocery shopping with my grandmother and it's obvious that I don't want to. It makes me feel bad because I want to help her but I want to play video games, and this makes me feel pathetic. I should enjoy going out with my grandma to go places! I shouldn't feel the urge to play videogames every single second of the day. And with this realization, I've been able to detach myself from constant gaming. It may not sound like a lot, but it feels like a big accomplishment for me. And like you have done, my grandma has taken away my privilege of playing videogames not because I get bad grades (I bring home very good grades, and even get paid allowance for the A+'s!!), but rather because I'm not my top tier on doing my chores. And I don't have many chores to do. Really only putting dishes in and out of a dishwasher and other house cleaning things. I think realizing that I'll have to do these cleaning activities when I become an adult has also cut up my gaming addiction. Because, sometimes I think about bills and other financial burdens I'll have to face when I grow up and see the real world. This also makes me stop playing videogames to think about my future and what I want to do. I'm wondering have you ever tried discussing this with your son? Or have you tried playing videogames with him if you can? Trust me it makes a kid feel happy when a parent finds interest in what the kid likes too. But that's really about it, I'm still trying to stop my addiction to videogames, but I think I'm doing better. Cheers!! (p.s this will probably have lots of spelling errors in it, and I'm sorry this comment went on forever haha!)
Teen, 13 years old written by Kai_

OMG THERE IS A SIMPLE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM. Since your kid has no interests other than gaming, get on his good side. Try playing video games yourself and make sure your son knows, because common interests bring people closer. The whole family could pretend to be playing video games making your son think you like video games, but play enough to know about the game. The hard part is getting your son to answer your question, but once you start a conversation about video games, keep it going. Make it a dinner-time routine for the whole family to come to the dinner table and talk about video games, even play together. I know for a fact this will bring all of you together. Take it step by step until your son gets into a routine of playing video games for 3-4 hours (no less), going to his friends house some days, coming to the dinner table and discussing everything, and get enough physical activity and human interaction to keep your sanity. What I know for sure, video games aren't bad for you, not getting enough human interaction, fresh air and light, and physical activity is bad for you and can slowly lead to insanity.
Teen, 13 years old written by sparkle_tt_2

My 10 year old brother plays videos games as soon as he gets home and plays until my mom makes him stop, then he gose in to his room and plays on his iPad. He will get vary angry and upset when he is not Winning and when ever I try to talk to him he just ignores me until I am shaking him and yelling answer me then he will just yell leve me alone I'm busy. Also sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night and he will be sleep talking about video games. He also says it is more important than school because he wants to play video games for a living and I told him that everyone says that but they don't end up doing it but he just said that's because they don't try hard enough. How can I get him to stop?
Adult written by Con T.

Talk to your parents or teacher about it. Get them to check out some of the web resources in my post. Your brother needs your parents to make changes to how they handle media in your home.
Parent written by Marie C.

I'm struggling with my son game addiction everyday his dad take away the game from him he go to school he borrow from his friends. Come home with new one , he has no phone, no computer, no game still he find a way to play with his sister tablet. He' s grade drop significant GPA. Is lower it can get I dont t know what to do. I need a professional help please.
Adult written by Travis J.

Hello S.D., I am a high school teacher who used to be a competitive gamer as well. I want to point out that most people below have some very good points. However, none are fully correct in my opinion. Extended gaming may cause your son to have better reflexes, but this will not matter due to his lack of muscle from no physical activity. This reclusivness also tends to make personal, face-to-face interaction socially awkward because of the loss of a safety net AKA his headset. Do I love video games? yes very much so. I was a nationally ranked gamer on the game Battlefield Bad Company 2. The way my parents and many others have handled this is a weaning off of the game and having him earn game time. This gives a purpose to chores, exercise, and spending time away from the home. This tends to expose them to activities they were unwilling to try previously and also limits the gaming without confrontation. My parents would give me a chore list. I could earn up to 4 hours initially. Slowly my parents brought it down to 3.5, 3 and finally 1.5. What I realized was that I became a more rounded individual. I began focusing more on sports, took up acting, and became a State Parliamentary Procedure Champion in Business Professionals of America. My parents didn't evoke the rebel instinct in me by coming aggressively, but they did what was best. Just something to consider. Best of Luck, Coach J.
Parent of a 14 and 16 year old written by S D.

I need advise on what to do about my 14 yr old son's addiction to video games... he has no other interests, would rather stay in his room all day and play on his xbox, when we make him do other things he is miserable to a point he ruins it for the rest of the family. He has withdrawn from his friends this summer and never goes to their houses when asked, (he might miss a match). I want to take the games completely, he is a completely different child since he started playing these games. Having gone through a drug addiction with my older step-son, my husband feels this is better than the alternative. At least we know where he is and he's safe. To a certain point I agree but he literally cares about nothing else and continues to say he wants to be a "gamer" when he grows up and this is his dream. Is this a really thing you can make money at??? he thinks so. The rest of our family is nothing like this, we like to be outside and swim, hike, camp, go out to eat, play sports. My husband and I work full time so this summer has been very difficult since we let him and his older sister stay home alone this summer. She works and drives but she can't get him to go anywhere with her either. I hope once school starts back up to limit the game to weekends only but in the mean time I struggle :( It's easy for me to say "just take the game away" but it's so much harder to do. I suffered a great loss before he was born so I tend to be grateful for each day I have with my kids as you never know what tomorrow can bring but at the same time I feel I'm letting him go down a bad road. How do I get him interested in something else???
Teen, 17 years old written by BluPancakes

To answer your question yes there are many jobs that involve video games that can get your son a lot of money, and honestly I believe you shouldn't do anything about his addiction video games actually have quite a few health benefits and can prepare him for life. I hope this helped.
Adult written by Con T.

Any addiction is not good for anybody. We all need a balanced life. Addiction is progressive. It starts as Fun ( gaming can be fun) then Fun and trouble (the rest of your life starts to fall apart because you are not eating properly, you loose your job because you are tired, you loose your friend because you have been ignoring them etc) and then Just TROUBLE ( gaming no longer feels fun because it just doesn't reach the highs like it did, so you are compelled to do it more and become a slave without having the fun, and then you don't have a job so you loose your home) You can only prepare for life by living in the real world. Gaming replaces real life hours where emotional maturity takes place.
Parent of a 10 year old written by Katherine U.

I am also struggling with this only my son is 10. Sometimes I feel it is the generation that they're being brought up in, sometimes I feel it was me. For a majority of his life I was a single parent, working, going to school and taking care of him. At times I think is it my fault, did I not show enough interest but I know I did. The video games just took over and still are. It's leading to what I feel is depression as he has no interest in a social life. We try and chat with him, make him feel special but he just says things like cool, yeah, ok. I ask him about school or how was school and he says - good. I've decided now that anytime we're in the car on the way home from the sitter noone can be on their phones, ipads etc. It's helping to learn more about his days events but he still wants to come home and game. I'm working on ways to limit screen time and they seem to be working only I realize they need to be more strict. Family meeting coming soon - games only on weekends for 1.5 hrs, or something like however much time is spent doing something constructive can be spent on the game. (school doesn't count) My biggest worry is his heart. Sometimes kids bully him at school or on the bus, he no longer rides the bus and days are getting better but I feel the bullying causes him to want to play games more and that can lead to depression when mixed altogether. Othertimes I think their a scapegoat "well I get bullied noone likes me", even though we've seen him around friends at school and they get along great; not to mention spent a weekend at two of their houses. I just want him to know he can do anythi g he wants and help raise his self esteem, I think he wants to do otherthings but doesn't think he's good at them. Please someone help me to know how to show him he matters and can do all the things other kids can do, he just needs to try. It's all one big mess and video games may have been the start.
Teen, 14 years old written by Shababski

Yes you can make money as a pro gamer but I would not call it financially stable. This seems like a very extreme situation so I honestly cannot give great advice. Personally I have a lot, I mean A LOT of self control and know my limits. But even I can't help playing video games for long amounts of time. Right now I seem to be growing out of gaming (I can't say your son will have a similar phase) but the best I can say is try to get him to try some similar to the game. This works very well if he likes shooter games, because confidence in the game gives you a motive to do well in real life (as if it were the game) so paintball and bb gun fights (not as dangerous as it sounds trust me) If they are not into shooters then Ile be honest. I don't know anything else..... sorry. This seems like an extreme situation and I only know how to deal with the average gamer (aka my peers)
Teen, 14 years old written by Kemada

By this time, you've probably had a lot of food for thought, and school has started, so I'll assume your son at least plays 2-4 hours a day now. Let me now outright say; you should never, EVER, take away something your child is into. It's like how if a academic oriented family suddenly has a child who's really sporty, and they try to convert him. It's like how twins could look the same, except they like different things. Every child is different; albeit they can be similar. As I have once heard before, from a game, mind you, "You can't change how your child works, you can only support them." If he's not talking to his friends, yes, he might lose them, but consider this; There is a much more vast, and large amount of people who also enjoy the games your son plays. And again, albeit they might not be close, and may not be trustworthy, if they practice online safety, they should make friends that they can get closer to in the comfort of their own homes. To confirm you question, "Is being a gamer a job," yes. Yes it is. Games are not only for relaxation, but they can also be played competitively. Esports teams such as TSM, and Alliance have teams of gamers who compete for money. Example: youtube.com/watch?v=J80VpaH1N2o (This was picked out randomly, but since they have top players in the game, I would think that they would have the game played somewhat competitively.) Children have very little patience with things - they would switch to a different task if one was boring. Since exercise is such a common thing in your family, he must think that things like these are a chore, and might even someday become too lazy to exercise at all. I would recommend trying to make exercising something that isn't boring. Spice it up! Of course, I'm not one to say, because I don't do these things myself, but if someone were to convince me to exercise, I would want to have it entertaining. And again, if you want him to be interested in something else - something productive, in your case - then you have to make it something he enjoys. If he loves games, have him try coding, because it's how people *make games*. Ask your son to learn to draw, since you need artists to make *a game*. Music is needed to make *a game's* soundtrack, etc. As for what you should have your son do now, I suggest for you to, indeed, limit his gaming, but only if his grades are falling, and he actually isolates himself from both the gaming community AND real life, then yes, please help him. He is completely fine. If you want him to do something productive, then make it something he can take enjoyment in, and don't force him to do it. I do so much things my parents force on me, and I resent them for it, so definitely never force anything onto people Games can help one person immensely. And depending on the type of games, it would help him in the following ways: Action, real time games (Overwatch, Far Cry, Call of Duty) - Hand eye coordination, reaction speeds, listening ability, teamwork, strategic thinking. Puzzle (Professor Layton, Phoenix Wright) - Logic, thinking Other types of games. There's a lot. ASAP Science and many others have covered this topic on youtube, so be sure to give them a look https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOsqkQytHOs I hope that gives you even more food for thought, even though your problem may be solved by now.
Teen, 14 years old written by Shababski

Don't forget rainbow six siege. I'm not kidding you get kicked from matches if you do not cooperate with the team.
Adult written by Mary C.

I personally think that putting an actual time limit on an account can make everything worse. First off, I think that video games can improve a kids mental health, as some studies say that video games could improve a child's reaction time, ability to solve puzzles (puzzle games, strategy games, etc...) and teamwork. Putting a time limit on an account for pc gaming can really put stress on a kid and make him think that he needs to finish as fast as he can, making the game stressful and not fun, this will make him very stressful, especially when the account automatically logs him off when he is in the middle of gameplay, and can potentionally delete his progress he has rushed through those hours, and can make him mad. This will make him angry over his parents and this can lead to the more rude and violent behaviours you think your child has addapted from the games. This is where most parents think it is the games fault that their child is rude or violent, and might make a more strict of way of monitoring their kids screen time, and can potentionally make the scenario worse. Some solutions to this problem is to just let your child play, but don't tell him he has a time limit, like give him a time limit of 4 to 5 hours of game time, and he can play it stress free thinking that he has no limit, and after that say in a nice and polite way that he may have been playing for a while and that he should go outside and play. This will let your kid have time to save the game so he does not loose all his progress that day, or if he is playing a specific type of game that gives your child a temporary ban if he just disconnected from the game, then he could tell you that he needs to finish the game first, and the he will get off. Another solution is to just let your kid play, just like doing a particular activity just like biking, or swimming, a kid can't swim for the whole day or bike for the whole day, if your kid plays stress free for a bit, he could just get bored of the game that day and get off naturally, and will go do something else. Also for addictions, most people think the stress of pressure of a digital time limit on the account, or a time limit you set is a addiction, and all they want to do is keep playing, this is wrong, they are just trying to get the most out of the game, but can't because they are stressed, and most people play the game to relieve stress. If your child plays the game to relieve stress, then putting stress on the kid while he plays is a terrible way to monitor his screen time. And most people do something they like to relieve stress, just like if someone loves to read, they would read to relieve stress, or if someone loves to swim, they would swim to relieve stress, same thing goes for gaming, if they feel stressed, they would naturally want to play video games to relieve stress as that is what they enjoy.
Adult written by Con T.

If a child cannot moderate gaming and be civil to parents then it is addiction and needs to be treated. Parents set the rules and should not be affected by raging children. They may need a thearpist for support or go to the websites i have found helpful such as olganon; see my post 21 July 2017.
Teen, 14 years old written by Umnothing

Go on ahead, let your kid play. As long as it doesn't affect his health or well being, then I don't think it's a huge problem. The only thing the would cross the line, is if gaming controls most aspects of his life. If it affects his ability to do his school work, chores or behaviour (as in being rude or vulgar) then I suggest you should find something else for your kid to do, just to take him of the edge a tad. Maybe go to the waterpark?
Adult written by winstonj

Let them play all they want. The reading alone in text adventure games and role-playing games alone are enough to guarantee skills that will be useful in virtually any job. Besides, if children aren't studying, what difference does it make whether they're playing video games or doing sport (please note my deliberate verb choice there).
Adult written by Con T.

Using digital media/games for many hours, everyday, stunts their emotional development is one huge reason not to want to allow it. Weight gain, disturbed sleep patterns, mental health problems, osteoporosis in the longer term are a few others just off the top of my head.
Teen, 14 years old written by Humberto Carcamo

You may have apoint there winston but the more we teens play the more we lose brain cells and thats what this webiste is trying to do a child should only be aloud to play AT LEAST 1-2 hours because i dont know if you are in adult but we teens need our brain cells just like babies need there milk so yeah...
Teen, 14 years old written by Shababski

I will have to disagree with that statement. I don't know the exact correlation between intelligence number of brain cells but in my experience, which is somewhat a different situation since I seem to show way more maturity than my peers, video games have never seemed to affect how well I did. Well my normal time (3 to 4 hours) because obviously 8 hours will take away from either sleep or actual studying time. I would seem to always get A's and B's even without studying (with gifted classes) and as for intellect in other fields like critical thinking (yes I know it is a broad term) logic and social skills I also excelled in. Even though I was playing very VERY violent games when I was young. (And also jeez I didn't mean to make this long but I ended writing a lot)
Adult written by Parent of 15 ye...

Hello I have a 15 year old son that can not stop playing video games. I believe he is addicted. But he asked me to research what they do to kids so I did and found this information. Call of Duty, is a game that's kill or be killed, which I found horrible, until now. It turns out Call of Duty does very good things to your child. First, by all of the flashy and fast paced scenes in the game, it actually improves eyesight. It gives teamwork skills along with personal, solo skills. Believe it or not, it helps most if not all people to focus and pay attention, I wondered why but I found out that it is because the fast paced action. It makes the individual want to do well and succeed in the game. So the person has to keep focus and concentrate on the objective which Call of Duty helps. Amazingly enough, while you are just sitting there on a couch looking at a screen, video games give your child social skills. Because of communicating and joking with friends online while playing, your child does socially interact quite a bit. These video games also helps A LOT with reaction time. None the less if you believe your child is addicted to video games. Let them play, it helps them in so many different ways. From research I now support video games.
Teen, 14 years old written by Shababski

If you do want to increase the benefits your child would be receiving I would recommend Tom Clancy Rainbow six siege because it had a VERY big emphasis on teamwork, strategy, and focus. As for mathematical skills I would recommend smite, since you have to buy items in each individual match to grow stronger (every match is different so the items must be changed to adapt to the situation) I recommend these because of have found that games like Call of Duty takes less skill than other games, as well as the community of people who verbally fight each other over petty grudges (sadly I know this too well)
Adult written by kelly55

I have a 9 yr old stepson who stays with us every second weekend, I'm not sure if i should be concerned or not about his interest in the playstaion games he plays? He seems to me to be obsessed with them. He has no outside interest, doesn't play a sport and only wants to play the playstation. Its all he ever talks about. He never has discussions about any other interest he has or things he would like to do. He complains if we are going out to a bbq or restaurant and sulks the whole time we are away from the house. The only time he seems happy and chatty is when he knows he has all weekend to sit and play games. He plays for hours and hours on end. for example he wakes up at 5 am every morning and plays until night time. He struggles to share the game with his brother and will become nasty or mean when its time to hand the game over. He will say things like i wish i didn't have a brother , he is so annoying, go away, shut up and snap at anything his brother says. As their father seems happy to let them play it as much as they wanted i knew i had to try and get them to enjoy some time outside doing fun things together and it hasn't been easy. I have made a rule that they must have 20 min turns so the brother gets a go and i have made plans for outdoor activities to get them away from the game and enjoying family time, exercise and fun. The problem is when i arrange an outing to the beach or the park the 9 yr old spends the whole day complaining he wants to go home, he sits alone and makes comments that he isn't enjoying himself and sulks around until i feel so miserable that i want to go home myself? What should I do to try and get him to enjoy family time without worry about when he can go home to his games? As a stepparent its difficult as I'm not the real parent but I am concerned about him socially and in the long term not having a good friendship with his brother. any ideas on how to get him to have fun away from technology?
Adult written by Con T.

So sorry about this young person. If he is addicted then nothing else will be much fun for him. i hope he is not addicted. As a step parent there is not much you can do to cure him. While he is your guest you can have rules in your home that there will be no gaming at all so that there is no gaming to go back to. Try to have fun things at home because he may be nervous to go outside to other places if he is not used to it. Better if you convince the parents this is a problem that needs to be tackeled. Gaming addiction is more prone to kids who are socially shy. So
Adult written by rokelv

I just wanted to say that you are a great step-parent and it is clear that you care deeply about your step-kids and their well being. You are taking terrific steps to get the 9-year-old out into the world and potentially interested in other activities, and also providing some limits on gaming. I don't know if it is possible in your situation, but it seems to me that some family counseling might be helpful. I also know that when you place limits on any kind of screen time it is really hard for kids to not pine for access to that screen. Alternatively, when the device is actually broken, kids have a different reaction -- because there is literally nothing they can do about it. All the sulking in the world doesn't help. When our TV broke, the kids just forgot about TV for a few weeks -- and it was truly an amazing difference in our household. It wouldn't be that hard for the playstation to "accidentally" break. You could take it out of the house and say it is at the repair shop -- and see what happens in a few weeks. It sounds like this boy could use a real mental break... to rediscover himself and his childhood. Good luck to you. He is lucky to have you in his life!
Teen, 14 years old written by Rabid101

Most people are not "addicted" to video games. For most people it is a stressreliever and something they can do in their downtime. I don't want this comment to turn into a huge rant about how ignorant some people can be. But the people who bash video games, are often the same ones who can sit for an hour or two, or three, or four just watching TV. I play video games for a couple hours a day regularly, and I get all of my chores done AND I do well in schol. The claim that video games rot your brain is uneducated and riddled with ignorance. Sure, some kids, and some adults, take them way too far and go into screaming fits when they don't get their way. But then again there are plenty of successful people who play games regularly. I know some people are whining about how people should not be staying up late on schol nights, but if you are doing well in school and you're getting all of yours chores done, I see no reason why we should not be allowed game time. It's no different then a book, both are mentally engaging, most video games tell a story, and both keep you occupied for a while. In fact, if anything, video games do a much better job of immersing you in the story. You can see the experience everything for your self. Even the video games that don't tell a story are still mentally engaging. No matter how many false claims are slapped in the face of young people like myself, video games are just another past time. Get over yourselves.
Adult written by MiketheTzar

The important thing to consider about gaming "addiction" is that a lot of it is simply a compulsory act of de-stressing. Think of it in the way that a particularly bookish child reads, the effects, reasons, and even outcomes can be the exact same. This is because games, like books and other things within life often utilize feedback loops. To overly simplify; a feedback loop is when an action is always followed by a reaction, usually a stimuli that often compels a person to repeat an action. Just in the way some people have that "one more chapter" compulsion when reading a book, some people have that "one more game/round/match" compulsion when playing a game. These loops can be unintentional or planned and can prove a very formidable force for grown adults, much less children. If you find yourself asking if your child is addicted to games there are a few easy things you can do to deal with the problem. First: calm down, the likely hood of your child being clinically addicted to video games is quite slim and you may simply be catching them at an odd moment i.e. the game is a new toy and they are playing with it, soon it will no longer be new and they will play with something else. There is no need to jump straight to addiction when it is just a child exploring the world in a new way. Second: watch the child's actions, if the child goes out of their way to play their game such as going to a friends house to just play the game or sneaking down at night after bed then you may want to take some form of action. Often talking to the child should be a first step, beyond that you have various options, an easy one is to take the child out of the environment, signing them up for a new activity or sport is a good way to break the routine that often characterizes video game addiction. Finally: take active steps against the child engaging in the addictive behavior, computer, phones, and tablets all have some form of parental controls that limit any thing from access to the internet to access to certain apps, home consoles have similar features are often not as robust and can often be circumvented through a few tricks. The important thing to understand is to not simply resort to taking the game away at the first sign of a problem. While doing this does effectively break the cycle it doesn't do anything in the terms of a teachable moment.
Kid, 11 years old

Addiction is a strong word for example if i played skyrim for 4 hours every day i wouldn't be addicted i would be stimulated and interesting witch can't really affect my social and mental skills. But say i smoked a pack of cigarettes every day that would be addiction and it could affect my mental and social state.
Teen, 15 years old written by Mac Attack

I have found that if my mum was to restrict my playing time because of exams then I want to play it even more. This crave can often distract me from important work. I suggest that you let your child play on weekends but make them take a five minute break every hour. This will help your child and say for example they are stuck on a certain level and they are getting angry over it then act calm around them and ask them to come off for a bit. At lunch maybe a half hour break is best. Overtime your child will start to get bored of the game and will not want to play it as much. If your child is continuously getting frustrated and progressively violent due to video games then doing a form of marshal art helps. Don't panic here, I can personally recommend Judo. In this sport there is a large element of respect involved. This will help to discipline your child. It is not an extremely violent sport and is very much based around one defending themself - your child won't come away with dents in them after a session. I have found that with my brother and myself when we come away from Judo we are much calmer, it often lets out a bit of anger and energy which is ultimately key for our school and family life. This may help. If you restrict your child on video games then they will grow frustrated and try to play it when you are not around to monitor them. They will need to learn to have limits on their own play time because it will affect them. Just make sure that your child your child is eating healthily when gaming and that they have at least half an hour of exercise per day. Perhaps use a schedule for them and have certain hours of gaming in between meals and exercise. All these steps will ease them out of being obsessed with games and it has worked with myself, my brother and many of my friends. Do not panic about the games but be firm with everything you say to the point where they cannot question your decision at all. At first it will sound like you are being strict about your child's play time however eventually the child will think you are being generous about letting them on their device because it is being slowly withheld. If there is spare time in the day and all of their homework is done etc. then perhaps give them an extra half hour or hour as a kind of of reward, this will look like generosity to them. Eventually the child will grow away from the device but make sure they are not obsessed with it in their teenage years, this will affect their social life as well as school and home. Incorporate these steps around the age of 10-12. If your child is younger and obsessed then get them out of the routine of playing it immediately. Hope this helps a bit.
Teen, 16 years old written by NobieFit

Most definitely. I'm only 16 and love to game, yet I know my limits and how to make time for myself to play, grind and get earn achievements.
Teen, 14 years old written by DragoRyu

For those parents freakin out because your child wants to play a few minutes, don't worry. You see, '"addict" is when your child can't stop and don't bother about anything else. This means "the game is playing you child" this means the game is controlling you. Don't let that happen, if you are like this, just try to calm down, do some sport and try to forget about it. Hope this is useful.
Kid, 10 years old

I don't play video games too much but I do play a bit but I do martial arts and AFL (Australian rules football) and I do spend lots of time with my family but I think it's fine for me to play video games as I am in the top 3 smartest kids in my class but I do think to play way too much video games is not a very good idea (way too much is like 3 hours + and on school days it depends on if you've done your homework but less than 2 hours is okay I usually only do about 1 -1.5 hours on school days(after school) and on weekends I wake up early 6 'o'clock but i can read before 6 so I get extra game time but usually pretty varied times on the weekend.
Teen, 16 years old written by Silverfall

'Addicted' is a very strong and dramatic word, commonly used by people who don't actually understand what their child is 'addicted' to. If the child is spending every waking moment on a game and it's affecting their sleep or school schedule, then yes, it's an addiction, but if they just play it in their free time, it is not an addiction it's simply playing a game, and for the most part is actually beneficial for the child.
Teen, 16 years old written by Larskei

Look as a teen I can personally say that the best way might not be the way to fix it, video games are addicting and taking it away makes you only want it more. 1 week of gaming privileges being taken away seems like years so instead of going and wanting to do everything with your kid, if you interrupt them every 30 minutes or every hour or two hours it's like that time doesn't even happen to a teen so the best policy is have it so they have a long game time, I mean like 4-18 hour time tables of UNINTERRUPTED gaming, so let's say they are allowed to play for 4 hours a day from 8-12 everyday, so instead of a set time also give them an extra hour a day that can be used at any time. So they get 8-12 and 1 hour at anytime, so let's say there is a light rain or they get some free time, then they can play, and 1 hour is a very very small amount of time, my recommendation on times to play (for teens 14-18) then I would choose 5pm-2am and 3-4 hours depending on the child, also anytime that a parent is not wanting them or if they have completed all chores I would give them free reign on the games. ([{PART 2}]) Gaming is just like the beach you can only go for so long, or you get "burnt out" and it's not enjoyable for awhile, so if you give them unrestricted free reign over a gaming system for let's say, 7-11 days between the ages of 15-17 they have a chance to gain that burn out feeling for quite a long time, usually 5-24 months. (I am saying this all from experience).
Parent of a 8 and 15 year old written by Fredriche Steinhager

Playing for 4 hours is ridiculous especially if you're going to bed at 12pm or 2am. To stay up this late and wake up the next morning having to go to school tired because of not enough sleep is ridiculous. I consider myself a night owl, but if kids aren't getting something productive done on a school night then kids should not be staying up this late, especially playing video games. More importantly, if your child is in high school and thinks its OK for him to stay up this late and play video games, than he/she needs some common sense ASAP. This is also a horrible habit for kids to develop as they grow up.
Teen, 14 years old written by Shababski

Sadly I have this habit and I am getting rid of it. You see, it is a punishing system. You stay up late, then you feel horrible in the morning. This is bad on its own but if you continue, it will affect class performance and then parents will get angry. Then they may get rid of video games entirely (reinforcing the motive to get better grades to play video games) Usually it does not persist (unless parents do not care and neither does the child) Also 4 hours is not a ridiculous amount of gaming time. I'm a big gamer and I normally game around 3 hours (not straight) because it may seem like a long time to nongamers but depending on the game it may just seem short (it is not, it is plenty of time, but making a point)
Adult written by Apples21

My son spends almost 30 minutes everyday playing Minecraft and it is really starting to effect his chore schedule. I discovered that if I threated to break his netbook, he makes sure to do a especially good job cleaning the bathrooms, doing the dishes, doing the laundry, vacuuming the carpet, and walking the dog. I would recommend doing this for your kids as well.
Teen, 15 years old written by 01Ben10

I personally think that 30 minutes of gaming is nothing because the average person plays about 1-2 hours at a time. Although, if your son is not doing his chores, I think that you should slowly take away more time that he gets to play minecraft until he is able to complete all his chores.
Parent written by gamerdad711

30 minutes is not much time at all. i tell my kids to do their chores by 4:00pm and when there finish they can get back to their games
Parent written by Jayce8654

Addicted is a strong way of putting it. I believe that most kids are not necessarily addicted, but many have different reasons for using it as an outlet or some kind of psychological therapy for whatever is going on in their world. Maybe not even anything bad in their life. I have a 7 year old son, a 10 year old son and almost 3 year old daughter and they all play video games, and all have too much screen time, and all are testing and grading 2-3 grades ahead of where they are. So, Its not to me addiction, your child is playing video games for many reasons; the reasons you may not be able to find out, maybe ever. But, study their overall body of work, ethic, skills, etc. Determine for yourself if its "?too much"? video game play! Thanks
Kid, 11 years old

I play video games almost every single day. I'm home-schooled and I'm the SMARTEST in my class. I got into a sorta like 'Honour' class. Video games don't affect their grades, It's them that affect their grades.
Teen, 16 years old written by Scantsundew

It is really about the game. A game like minecraft or sims is not a bad game and can actually teach them about using your mind. On the other side games such as call of duty and other shooters should be either banned or regulated strongly if addiction is feared.
Teen, 13 years old written by Randomanatee

Hi, I'm a huge gamer (all types) and I disagree that shooters are bad for your kid or make them violent, I am probably the least violent kid in my class and I do Tae-Kwon-Do for a sport, and I would have to say games have helped me! I have a sharp reaction time, and a very good mind for mapping out things (from playing large war games and MMO's). Shooters like call of duty can help your reaction time as they are quite 'twitchy'