3 Surprising Things To Know About Kids + Gaming
Let’s talk about video games. The cute “educational” ones and the “everyone is doing them” ones. Because although it seems like everyone allows their children to play games, it’s becoming more and more common for parents to take a stand and just say “not for my child” (and guess what, children actually flourish without them)!
We all know them. The great dopamine-release-epi-center for, largely, the boys and young men in our time. The thing that connects the generation – both through cultural prevalence and through game-player technologies. Some seemly harmless young kid games, some shockingly violent adult games, but they all have the same addictive design that makes them so dangerous to allow our children to play without careful consideration.
And, because they’re just so fun and satisfying to play, and everything else pales in comparison…. they become the thing that leaves carnage in its wake for too many families.
Today we want to introduce three worthwhile things to consider about in the video game world that you perhaps didn’t realize, although there are many other concerning elements like violence, online predators, and the prolific culture of disrespect.
1. “Virtual autism” is now a thing. And it’s gaining in prevalence.
When kids, especially young ones, spend too much time around screens – especially interactive, game-like ones, they can develop behaviors that mimic autism. About this, one doctor said, “sensory-motor and socio-affective deprivation caused by the consumption of more than 4 hours/day of virtual environment can activate behaviours similar to those found in children diagnosed with autism.”
When children who have virtual autism have all games and screens removed, their autistic-like symptoms disappear. If your child has been diagnosed with any of disorders, behaviors, or mental conditions — it may be largely due to screens since they are so much more visually stimulating than years ago, and gaming hooks kids on a loop of fast paced intense concentracion that creates whole mind-body dysregulation.
2. China is mandating a three-hour limit per week on video-gaming for all children.
The country represents one of the largest gaming economies in the world, and the emotional and mental health toll it’s taking on children has long been a concern of leaders. “Teenagers are the future of our motherland,” Xinhua quoted an unnamed NPPA spokesperson as saying. “Protecting the physical and mental health of minors is related to the people’s vital interests, and relates to the cultivation of the younger generation in the era of national rejuvenation.”
They can now play only from 8 – 9 PM on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. They have seen the science and are taking drastic measures to protect youth.
This is sobering.
3. One of the leading causes of college dropouts for boy is excessive gaming, and highly intelligent boys are more susceptible.
In a college of 20,000 students, 1000 students is at risk of dropping out because of out-of-control gaming. “As I glanced across the packed auditorium at all those (first-time) parents,” wrote one parent of a formerly game-addicted son, “I wondered which ones would be picking up their gaming son prematurely this year to move him back home.”
This is sad, troubling stuff. We know the male gender is more susceptible to addiction, so we should take extra caution in allowing young boys to dabble in games.
And so it begs the question: what are we doing letting them partake in risky behavior online? For what perceived benefit?
Online friends do not display any qualities real-life friendships display, yet parents often think that they are their child’s “only friends”.
There are many books about this including Hooked on Games, The Collapse of Parenting, and Reset Your Child’s Brain which can be found on the Screen Smart Families website or Screen Time Clinic resource page.
No kid with a gaming addiction, or significant media overuse, is going to emerge from childhood with a healthy mind, body, and soul. It just isn’t possible and as parents we should take proactive steps to protect this from happening by evaluating the risk of media overstimulation and susceptibility to gaming addiction, according to Dr. Victoria Dunckley including:
🧠.Younger Age Viewing Media
🧠. Male Gender
🧠. ADHD/ADD tendencies
🧠. Autism Spectrum Disorder
🧠. Mood, Behavior, Attention, Anxiety or Addiction Disorder
🧠. Sleep Disregulation or Disorder
🧠. Intellectual Disabilities
🧠. Chronic Medical Conditions
🧠. Sensori-Motor Disorder
🧠. Academic Inattention
🧠. Low Reading Level
🧠. Poor Social Skills
🧠. Family History of Addiction or Mental Illness
🧠. Premature birth or delivery trauma
🧠. Traumatic Brain Injuries
🧠. Abuse, Foster Care, Family Trauma
If your child meets any degree of any of these risk factors, take a moment to connect with a digital wellness educator in the Screen Time Clinic network to talk about prevention methods or undertaking a screen detox from gaming or media viewing. Even modest amounts of media, TV, educational games can be overstimulating without parents even realizing it causing a whole host of short term and long term problems that can be overcome by reducing or eliminating screen time. It’s easier than you think to get started and you will be glad you took steps to improve your child’s life.
We’re after human flourishing, for ourselves and our families. It takes a village, we are here to help.
Co-Written by Susan B. Arico, Screen Time Clinic Educator and Writer & Nicole Rawson, founder of Screen Time Clinic