The following piece of writing is meant for parents of a teenager who might be fanatical with video and/or computer games. Even as in some of our other articles we might sound as though we encourage obsession, we share a concern over teens who tend to shun other interests in life in favor for gaming behavior to the point where they withdraw from society. We would never encourage this kind of behavior, and that’s why we’ve taken time to describe some of the signs of game obsession and offer some advice on how to deal with it.
Recognizing the signs of teenager game mania isn’t as easy as one thinks. It always starts off as first, an interest, and it then starts to grow into an addition. The problem with identifying the start stages of game obsession begins with the teenager. By the time our children are 15 and up, they’ve educated some rather impressive debating skills. So when we question their motivations for repetitive game play, they might rebut our concerns with logic and even make it a point to question our own flaws as parents.
Because no parent ever really wants to come clean a flaw, we can sometimes cave in and convince ourselves that maybe 4 hours in front of a video game isn’t that bad. After all, we spend that much time at the computer, on the phone, or transmitting data back and forth between our Palms, Blackberries, and Cingular cell phones.
Be watchful not to fall quarry to the logical teen. Video games can be addictive and if the time spent playing them is not carefully monitored, they’ll consume everything that a teenager used to care about.
The moment you notice your teenager’s grades falling, homework missing, or social life preliminary to drop off, nip that game time in the bud. If you stay too late to restrict game time, you might experience pre-adult temper tantrums that you aren't set to handle correctly (cursing, breaking things, theft, running away from home, etc.). At this point, the child is obsessed and will do anything to get his or her hands on a game controller.
Another sign of mania is a behavioral change. A child obsessed with gaming will lose endurance with things and with others, be quick to anger, and act in response to situations without fully thinking of the consequences. If you’ve paid any attention to video and/or computer games, you’ll notice that they require this kind of behavior to win or to advance to a higher level.
It’s unlucky, but a teen obsessed with this kind of violent gaming is factually being trained to react in the way described above. That’s why it’s relevant that as an adult, you restrict access to this kind of entertainment and replace it with activities that slow thinking (such as art, music, theater, etc.) and expose your child to other non-violent pleasures (swimming, dance, skating, etc.).
There are a lot of debates circulating around about the impact that video games have on today’s youth and some of it might warrant paying nearer attention to. As a mother or father of a teen, you will do well with your teenager’s desire to “get his game on” by keeping a close eye out for undesirable changes.