In the 21st century, computer games are the biggest form of entertainment and even younger children are getting involved. Find out what symptoms should worry you and how to effectively address the problem.

Where does gaming addiction come from?

In general, game addiction can affect people who uncontrollably use electronics for entertainment. It’s not just computers, but also tablets, smartphones or consoles. It’s no wonder that the youngest have the greatest difficulty setting limits (although the problem of addiction to computer games often affects teenagers and adults as well). Loss of control and a healthy balance between real and virtual life is the main cause of gaming addiction. You need to find out why a person would rather spend time alone, in front of a phone or tablet, instead of engaging in sports, socializing with peers, or even sleeping and eating.

Addiction to computer games can have many reasons:

easy and universal access to a computer or television – these devices are now even in children’s rooms, which makes it difficult for parents to control when and how long their children use electronics,

willingness to please peers – virtual meetings, for example during games, become more popular than socializing outside or going out,

willingness to experience adrenaline, excitement,

setting new challenges – gaining points and defeating opponents,

engagement of all senses, a captivating story effectively cuts the player off from the outside world and loses track of time,

inability to establish and maintain relationships in life leads to seeking contacts, friendships, and acquaintances online.

Symptoms of gaming addiction

Can symptoms of gaming addiction be overlooked? If a child has their own TV and locks themselves in their room, it is difficult to control how much time they spend in front of the screen. However, there may be many more signs of gaming addiction – addiction, like any other, affects the daily life of a young person and other members of their family. Disruptive signals include:

-lying to parents

-restricting other activities

-neglecting hobbies and contacts with peers

-sleep problems

-concentration and memory difficulties

-irritability, nervousness

-frequent seclusion in a room and isolation from family life

-mood swings

-spending large amounts of money on computer games and electronic accessories

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Addiction to gaming – consequences

Is addiction to computer games so dangerous nowadays? With the advancement of digitalization, work and entertainment are largely based on access to electronics. Can the effects of gaming addiction be so serious? After all, addiction seems to be less dangerous than drugs or alcohol. However, do not be fooled by the seemingly “harmless” addiction to games. In practice, it can have very unpleasant consequences – both short-term and long-term. And they include:

-lack of contact with peers – social isolation, inability to establish and build relationships with other people,

-feelings of loneliness and social exclusion,

-lack of physical activity – lack of movement negatively affects posture,

-health and well-being, causes worse oxygenation of the brain and other organs,

-slower development – lack of fresh air, exercise, but also sleep deficit or fast, neglected eating negatively affect the developing organism,

-health problems – eye, head, back pain, worsening posture disorders, feelings of irritability, frustration, anger, depression, mood swings.

The above effects of gaming addiction are not temporary. If you do not try to treat your addiction to playing, you can expect the problems to persist for a long time and even worsen. Some things, such as contacts with peers or neglected physical development, cannot be returned or replaced, so it is worth taking action immediately.

How does the treatment of gaming addiction work?

The moment when parents begin to understand that they have lost control over their child and their child is addicted to games often coincides with the agreement to consult a child psychologist.

Why can psychotherapy be the most effective form of help for young and older people addicted to games? Treatment takes place through individual and group meetings, discussions, tasks, stimulations, and many others – the course of treatment always adapts to the patient’s individual situation.

Of course, much depends on the approach of parents and the situation at home. How can you try to reduce the risk of gaming addiction? First of all, you can set up the TV or computer in a visible and accessible place for everyone. It is good to allocate time for the child to spend in front of the screen during the day. The later you give a tablet or phone to the child, the better.