Warning signs of video game overuse can include trouble sleeping, poorer than usual school work and behaviour, and less time spent seeing friends.

Experts agree that it might be wise to gently curb your child’s gaming hobby if they are spending more than two hours per day (every day) gaming, or you are worried about them disengaging with the offline world. Signs that less gaming time would be a good idea include:

  • An increase in irritable behaviour or even aggressive moods
  • Physical complaints including sore fingers, red eyes or headaches
  • Talking about a game constantly
  • Sitting alone and playing for hours
  • A defensive or enraged response if you ask them to stop playing
    With the Health Organisation recognising gaming addiction as a mental health condition, we’ve gathered together some advice for parents. If you are worried about your child or want to prevent gaming getting out of hand, read on:

  • Playing games together while enjoying each other’s company is cited as a sensible tactic if you are concerned that your child has developed unhealthy gaming habits
  • Agree together how much time gaming should take up each day and discuss why it’s not always the best use of time
  • Something called a ‘digital detox’ might be worth considering if your child seems to be stuck to their tablet and neglects activities he or she once loved
    How do I set up a digital detox for my child?
    If you are worried about your child and gaming seems to be the most important thing in life, it may be time for some screen-free living:

  • Commit to less screen time as a family, so that your child feels supported and not singled out for punishment
  • Remove technology from bedrooms and relocate it to a family space where you can chat to each other while using screens or playing a game
  • Leave non-essential gadgets at home when you go out as a family
  • Even commit to leaving technology behind during your next family holiday
  • Visit your child’s friends, plan a trip with them or try some new fun activities to fill up the time once dedicated to gaming
    If you are still concerned about your child’s gaming habits you may wish to considering seeking the help of a professional counsellor, and start by asking your GP for advice.

    The website Internet Matters offers more in-depth advice on gaming for parents, here – https://www.internetmatters.org/resources/online-gaming-advice/

    What to do if gaming gets out of hand, an article from Internet Matters, contains more helpful insights, here – https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/expert-opinion/what-to-do-if-gaming-gets-out-of-hand/