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Technology & Video Game Addiction
Video gaming is one of the more challenging problems facing parents of children with ADHD and other behavioral problems. The question of how much to allow your child to spend playing them is only one aspect of the dilemma. Parents want to know whether playing video games can be harmful, can lead to the underdevelopment of social skills or make their child even more “hyper”.
These are all reasonable concerns and there is some evidence to support any and all of these concerns, depending upon the makeup of a particular child. Perhaps the most invidious form of these games is the on-line variety, e.g. World of Warcraft. Even adults can be “hooked” on these games and spend many hours playing them, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. It is not uncommon to find such individuals who become so heavily involved that they suffer from sleep deprivation and undernourishment due to the difficulties they have separating themselves from these games.
Far and away the most common complaint from parents is how difficult it is to transition their child from the game to another activity, like homework or dinner. It is common at times such as these for “behavioral meltdowns” to occur as the parent, whose repeated requests to come to the dinner table are ignored. When the parent’s patience has become completely exhausted and she finally demands that her child “stop playing that game immediately”, all hell can break loose as the recalcitrant child pushes back big time.
Perhaps you’ve seen yourself going down this slippery slope on more than one occasion. If so, you may have reacted as many parents do which is to take away all video games “until further notice”. However, the real problem is not being addressed, that is, that ultimately your child needs to learn to manage his video game usage himself which he is not being given the opportunity to do.
Our philosophy regarding video game use is a simple one: all things in moderation. Self-regulation is one of the main challenges children with ADHD face so if they are going to learn to manage their lives better, why not start with video games? At The Reynolds Clinic we teach parents how to implement our Video Game Management System as part of our Parent Coaching program. Once established, the same principles can be applied to other areas of your child’s life like homework compliance, bedtime routines and morning preparations.
If you are feeling defeated, take heart. You are not alone. You and your child can meet these challenges and without the drama!