Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Is Your Teen Addicted to Gaming?

It's bad enough that you rarely see your teen but when he is home he spends his time staring at the computer playing interactive games. What should a parent do? Do you limit his time on the computer or ban interactive games altogether? How do you know when a simple game is becoming a problem?

Teens need alone time. Their life is changing at a rapid and stressful rate and they absolutely need down time do do nothing at all. But the amount of downtime they need is minimal - perhaps an hour a day depending on the teen. Gaming may be your teens way of getting down time.

If gaming is becoming a habitual way to avoid interacting with others or if it is beginning to prevent your teen from taking care of other responsibilities then perhaps it is time to talk to him about the role gaming is playing in his life.

Remember to ask him how gaming makes him feel and to listen rather than lecture or dictate new rules. The latter will invoke defensiveness and your teen will turn a deaf ear. But if you discover what your teen is turning his back on via gaming, it is possible to develop a dialogue about some of life's demands that are causing him to feel overwhelmed. Take this opportunity to learn about your teen and to see the gaming as a symptom rather than an enemy.