The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recognized gaming addiction as a real mental health disorder. Parents may oftentimes not understand if their teen actually has a gaming addiction, or if they are just being a teenager, and here are some precepts to go by.
Without having human contact, a teenager may have a hard time developing face-to-face relationships. If their social life only consists of talking to other gamers online while competing in games, they are not getting the social connection that is extremely important for a teenager’s self-esteem.
One of the first signs that a parent can look at is a teen’s grades. Instead of doing homework, studying, or working on projects, they would much rather play their game than anything else. Their academics become a low priority and as a result, their grades begin to fail and their dedication to school starts to decrease.
In order to get to the next level on many games, upgrades or extension packs must be purchased to move on. Teens also want to buy the newest games when they are dropped which typically cost a pretty penny. In fact, 69 percent of Fortnite gamers have bought in-game purchases to try and enhance their game for a total of $300 million dollars last May, according to a survey that LendEDU performed. The problem with these teen purchases is the parents are the ones having to pay in excess for their teenager’s gaming addiction or the teenager may use a credit card without the parent’s permission.
The disagreement of how much a teen should play their games is a point of contention for families who are dealing with a video gaming addiction within their household. Denial and enabling can become part of any addiction and gaming addiction is no different. Tension may build up once a parent tries to limit the amount that the teen can play causing arguments and uncomfortable conflicts.
Another telltale sign of addiction is when a teen stops taking care of their hygiene, does not sleep, or is not eating as often to keep from interrupting their game. Rather than eating healthy options, they will grab quick and easy junk food to be able to eat while they continue to play their game. As a teen is physically developing, not taking care of their health can stunt their growth, so to speak, in an unhealthy way.
Teens who are addicted to gaming can begin to exhibit bouts of anger if they are not winning their game or throw tantrums when they cannot game when they want to. They also may not be able to differentiate from gaming to reality which can make them act out in a negative way. There are rehabilitation centers who specialize in gaming addiction that could help a teen if they are showing any of these signs. Getting them the help, they need as soon as possible is crucial to keep them thriving throughout their teenage years.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center leads the way with progressive, evidence-based programming to most effectively treat each individual adolescent while focusing on the uniqueness of each client. Healing the mind, the body, and the spirit as one in the same can make the biggest difference in staying sober.
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