Gaming and Tech Addiction
Video games, social media, smart phones, streaming sites, and the internet are tremendous. However, prioritizing these could be problematic in school, family and peer relationships, physical health, cyber bullying, and more.
Video Game Addiction or Compulsive Video Gaming is becoming more prevalent. It can impact everyone from children, teenage boys and girls, young professionals, students at university, as well as married couples. It can often go overlooked and unchecked for a long time due to gaming being normalized in our culture, lack of awareness of gaming’s impact on developing minds and identities, or possibly avoiding the problem entirely.
Video Game Addiction is more than simply spending too much time on video games. It is a blend of prioritizing gaming over all other responsibilities, health and hygiene, social life, family, and growth while ignoring negative consequences.
My approach to video game addiction depends on the severity of the situation. I generally do not villainize video games. For the majority of the time, people can enjoy video games without becoming addicted, but there are times when things get out of control. Together we will figure out a plan that works for you, your child, and your family. I enjoy exploring how gaming became an escape, what function gaming serves, and how meaning and fulfillment can grow and maintain in everyday life away from the screens for you or your child.
Children Under 12 Years Old: Perhaps your child is playing Fortnite, Splatoon, Call of Duty, Minecraft, or other games. When you ask them to turn off the game, they get angry, have tantrums, or maybe even get violent. Perhaps you feel like you tried everything. Like restricting game time and taking away the game consoles or computers, but that just made things worse. Perhaps your child even started sneaking around to get back online. Does this sound familiar? Are you concerned? I work primarily with the parents/family to help monitor, understand, and create a plan that limits and structures your child’s time with video games, as well as avoid major pitfalls and common mistakes.
Teens: Gaming can often contribute to isolation and withdrawing. What may appear to be normal teenage distancing and individuating, may be a bigger issue like depression or anxiety. Do you notice your teen spending more time gaming or online instead of doing school work, finding a job, going out with friends, joining clubs or sports, or showing signs of depression or anxiety? I work with both the parents/family and the teen individually to help encourage responsibility and structure for the teen. I also enjoy listening and understanding what your teen gets out of video games and what problems he or she might be solving or avoiding. Gaming can be meaningful for a teen, and it can also be a form of coping. Teens are often afraid that I as a therapist and you as a parent will come after their gaming to take it away forever. That is not my approach. Let’s work together to help you and your teen.
Adults: It’s been a long day at work or university. Things are piling up. Deadlines are coming due. Things are super stressful. Maybe you realize on some level that these responsibilities are important, but you just find it hard to get motivated or disciplined to tackle all these tasks. So you throw on some video games to pass the time. You’ll get to work soon. But before you know it, it’s well after midnight. Now you’re tired. Guess you’ll get to work tomorrow. Your partner might be starting to worry, but you say it’s no big deal. Or perhaps you don’t have a partner, you want someone, but going out on dates seems too overwhelming. So you game. Does this sound like you? Do you think that you are prioritizing gaming and it could be getting in the way of reaching your potential as an individual, employee, partner, or student? Come in and let’s learn about how this came to be, and how things can be better.