Children nowadays prefer internet gaming over outdoor plays. If you are raising a child in the digital age, you have to be aware of Internet Gaming Disorder. Keep your kid’s gaming addiction in check with parental control apps.
We are more connected than ever, with many children having access to tablets and smartphones even before they learn to walk and talk. A younger child instantly gets attracted to smartphones, which opens up a world of wonders for them.
And as they grow up, this fascination develops into dependence on the devices to keep them amused and occupied. When digital tools have changed the reality of children’s lives to this extent, it is our responsibility to help them separate fact from fiction.
If your child spends long hours playing online games, you might be afraid of them being addicted to it. Continue reading to identify whether it is a disorder and if professional intervention is needed.
What is Internet Gaming Disorder?
According to World Health Organization (WHO), a gaming disorder is – a pattern of gaming behavior (including both digital and video gaming) characterized by unconstrained control over gaming, which is given priority over other interests and is continued despite facing negative consequences from the behavior.
To be classified as ‘gaming disorder’ – The behavior must be severe enough to result in significant adverse effects in personal, family, social, educational, or occupational areas of functioning for more than twelve months.
Parents can use the kid’s safety app to save their children from having a gaming disorder. But first, we need to understand – all children are different, and there are various reasons why some kids are drawn to gaming. Let us try to figure out what they are.
Why is your child focused on online gaming?
Gaming can be a very positive experience; the problem arises when it goes out of proportion, and they start neglecting other areas of their lives to play online games.
Over time, a child may start to turn to the game as a way of coping with stress and difficult life issues, such as divorce-separation in the family, or pressure of the studies. Stepping into a virtual world can provide a feeling of relief from the stress of daily life.
The brain’s reward center gets triggered by gaming, which releases dopamine (one of the ‘feel-good hormones’,) associated with feelings of euphoria, bliss, concentration, and motivation.
While gaming, dopamine can surge as a child gets thrilled by reaching a new high score or taking down an opponent, resulting in a temporary feeling of bliss.
Being enjoyable and engaging for kids, online gaming is a popular choice for filling downtime, but when the appeal goes beyond fun, it may be a cause for alarm.
How to know if your child is addicted to online games or not?
In addition to being a great medium for recreation, online games can also be used as a learning tool. For many kids, games are a way to connect with friends and to relax after a tedious day.
But unless it is in moderation, the habit of online gaming can play havoc in your child’s life.
10 Signs your child is having Internet Gaming Disorder include:
- Gaming gets into the way of your child’s ability to complete homework, getting ready for school on time, or focus on educational needs.
- Gaming negatively impacts their relationships with you, siblings, other family members, and friends.
- They talk about their game continuously.
- They play for hours, stopping only when asked.
- They experience uncontrollable outbursts or sometimes physical aggression when asked to stop gaming.
- Gaming takes precedence over other important areas in their lives.
- It starts taking its toll on healthy habits such as eating, hygiene, and exercise.
- Gaming results in significant changes in mood.
- They appear to be distracted, depressed, or lonely, as some games can be really isolating.
- Physical symptoms might arise, such as dry or red eyes, soreness in the fingers, backache, neckache, or headaches.
Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small percentage of gamers who engage in digital gaming activities. But parents should always look for the signs mentioned above as problematic gaming can negatively affect teens and escalate over time.
And whenever needed, they must use parental controls to build healthy digital habits in the children.
What are the benefits of online gaming?
- For kids struggling with self-confidence, success in gaming can raise feelings of self-esteem.
- A well-played game can trigger positive emotions after a difficult day at school or struggling to connect with peers.
- According to research, gamers show improvements in sustained attention and selective attention.
- The brain regions involved in attention are more efficient in players and require less activation to sustain attention on critical tasks.
- Evidence suggests that video games can increase the size and efficiency of the regions of the brain responsible for visuospatial skills.
- Online games can be a fun way to connect with a peer for the kids who are introverts by nature and struggle to initiate conversations or to enter into the groups.
It is essential to know your child’s specific interest in gaming to determine whether or not gaming provides a healthy outlet or could become problematic. As soon as you find your kid connecting to other kids only through gaming, you need to take the following steps to abate the addiction.
How to treat your child’s Internet Gaming Disorder?
- Help your child understand that success in the gaming world is virtual or imaginary, and has nothing to do with real-life success. It is more worthwhile to get good grades, earn real money, learning a real-life skill than living in fantasy worlds.
- Set definite rules for a gaming time limit and make sure that you strictly enforce it with the help of parental control apps.
- Create consequences for not following any of the rules, such as banning the games for a week if they exceed the assigned time limit.
- Reward your child with game time or deduct the game time based on them fulfilling or failing a goal.
- With parental controls, you can set a schedule for them, allowing to play only on certain days and at a specific time.
- Prevent your child from playing open-ended exploration games and ask to choose games that they can be completed within a short duration.
- Introduce your child to other fun things of varying interests that offers enjoyment, and could even earn him real-life points.
How can Bit Guardian Parental Control can help?
Bit Guardian Parental Control is a wonderful child monitoring app that offers many helpful features to curb your child’s internet addiction. It allows parents to block any app that their child might be addicted to, or parents can block Play Store, so kids cannot download any new app.
It also enables parents to limit the screen-time and plan a schedule for bedtime and other apps. Involve your child in physical activities like playing sports, biking, or running to less physical activities such as reading, learning to play an instrument, or going out with friends.
Be a smart parent, use parental control apps for Android, and cure your child of Internet Gaming Disorder.