Gaming Addiction in Children: Signs, Causes and First Aid

The game accompanies the child from early childhood – this is a natural process of development and with age it becomes more complicated. Thanks to new technologies, games have become even more “advanced”, they still help to develop the child, but in a slightly different way.

When certain rules are followed, communication with gadgets does not harm the health and mental state of the child, however, by the age of 12, the self-control system is deteriorating due to the peculiarities of the development of the teenage age group.

The child notices how the world around him is changing, some children accept this as the norm, others prefer to stay in their “hut”, where there are fewer requirements and responsibilities.

Computer games often become such a place. Bright colors, interesting role-playing that doesn’t exist outside of the computer, playing in a team with minimal physical activity – all this and more is more attractive than doing homework or cleaning a room.

Young people are addicted to virtual games more than the norm if their life is not filled with anything else, there are no positive emotions or other interests. Then there is such a problem as addiction to computer games.

Why do teenagers like computer games?

As mentioned above, in many games, virtual life is more interesting, in addition, it is faster and more intense, which allows you to experience all the phases of growing up and accept the participant in different situations in a short period of time.

Many virtual games help a teenager make new friends, so he does not feel lonely and can even put into practice his ability to foreign languages.

Also interesting is the path to the goal – defeating another community and moving to another level.

During the game, emotions appear that are easy to get used to, getting them in real life is not so easy – for this you have to leave the house, meet classmates, attend some event. When there is a computer nearby, this is not necessary.

Loneliness, social problems, self-doubt are not known to anyone in the virtual world, the child feels competent and respected.

There is also a physical factor associated with addiction. During a computer game, various brain functions are stimulated, such as memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.

This ensures the production of more dopamine, endorphins and adrenaline. These substances cause a feeling of pleasure and reward, making you feel good mood almost constantly.

Gambling addiction in children – how to recognize

If a teenager plays for many hours a day, this is not the first reason to panic. Most likely, he has a lot of free time and there are no clear time limits.

As a rule, after the established norms, the child tries to challenge the decision without showing aggression and trying to secretly increase the time spent at the computer.

He does his homework on time, is distracted from games to meet with peers and is devoted to his chosen creativity – drawing or playing chess.

Psychological help is required when a young gamer does not stop playing even when tired, reacts sharply to the time limit, and thoughts and conversations are focused on passing new levels, instead of looking for new hobbies.

Games can lead to serious conflicts at home or at school. Sometimes parents get tired of reacting to prohibitions and again allow an unlimited number of hours to play, the problem in this case is exacerbated – a teenager skips meals, skips classes, does not do homework.

To continue playing for long periods of time, some children turn to stimulants such as coffee, energy drinks, or recreational drugs.

Secret spending of certain amounts for the purchase of “extra lives” or “inventory” is possible, it is not uncommon for children to spend money from credit cards.

Signals of gambling addiction:

  • Deterioration in school performance.
  • Requests and agreements are not fulfilled.
  • Fatigue due to lack of sleep.
  • Disregard for your appearance.
  • Criminal behavior such as theft.
  • Social isolation is the refusal to communicate with friends.
  • Aggressive behavior and depressive state when the game is prohibited.

Causes of gambling addiction

In many cases, addiction to gambling or computer addiction begins with a psychological trauma that was received after an illness, divorce of parents, loss of a close relative.

Such children feel free, protected and happy during the game, the sadness associated with difficulties in life is filled with positive moments.

Also, the reason is the tendency to some “herd”, if classmates or best friend is fond of this game, the child decides to try and stay in this society, as this is the easiest way to gain respect among peers.

Lack of friends and insecurity ranks third on this list. The sudden appearance of like-minded people more than a dozen makes you return to the game again and again, there is a desire to help new acquaintances, not to let down teammates.

Thus, the online world becomes more meaningful, and prohibitions cause a feeling of resentment and injustice.


How to help a child with a gambling addiction

Should playing computer games be banned? The ban is not the main decision. The introduction of strict rules in case of addiction can worsen the situation, therefore, first of all, you should find the reason, which lies not at all in the existence of computer games.

To find out why a child is trying to escape from the real world, you will need the help of a qualified specialist. Recommendations usually consist of addressing social adaptation and strengthening self-confidence.

The teenager is assisted in finding interesting activities, the limit is set using the correct dosing. At the same time, the child continues to play, the main task is to teach him to control himself on his own.

How much time should a child spend at the computer:

  • 8-10 years old: 1 to 1.5 hours a day including TV
  • 10 – 12 years old: maximum 2 hours
  • 12 years and older: 3 hours

It is important to remember that there is no universal recipe for gambling addiction, only a parent can find the right approach that will not worsen relations with a small gamer.

There are many ways to distract from the computer, but how to do it is decided by the close relatives of the child with whom he lives or by a specialist. Only parents know the nature of their teenager and are able to save him with the help of acceptance of the problem, attention and unconditional love.