Dear Dr. Bill,
Our 14-year-old son is very bright and enjoys strategic and technical games on the computer. We’ve tried to be careful about limiting his time, but lately his resentment over this limitation has escalated dramatically — especially when we’re getting ready for vacation or have work to do around the house.
My husband and I are wondering — is he addicted? We don’t understand why the computer can’t simply be a fun activity like watching a movie or playing games, rather than something to fight about! What should we do?
Millions of parents in the U.S. are beginning to realize that their child may be addicted to computer or video games--something they thought was simply harmless fun.
These parents have confronted the painful reality that their son or daughter is spending countless hours each week glued to a video game console or a gaming website.
They’ve noticed disturbing changes in their child’s personality—they seem obsessed with “reaching the next level” and their friendships are limited to the “virtual” world of their online gaming community. Also, many parents are unaware that there is a disturbing link between violent video games and aggressive behavior.
Here are a few suggestions for dealing with video game addiction from authors Olivia Bruner and Vicki Caruana:
· Set firm time limits on online gaming
· Make sure all chores and homework are completed before play
· Model good viewing and gaming habits yourself (that includes TV viewing)
· Monitor your son’s attitudes and behaviors surrounding gaming
In a worse-case scenario, you may actually need to get rid of the gaming equipment or block your son’s internet access using parental controls.
Thanks for writing Cheryl. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Culture Connection page.