The Tragic Story of Child Video Game Addiction
The mother’s story of her video-game-addicted son in this CNN article and video clip (linked below) is both tragic and compelling. He is much like the children and teens I see in my clinical practice: capable, intelligent kids who are dragged away from an interest in family and school by the lure of gaming.
As described by Iowa State professor Dr. Douglas Gentile in this article and video clip, game addiction is increasingly common, estimated at 8.5% of young gamers. Unfortunately, the substantial risks of this problem are under recognized by parents who often aren’t aware of its impact before purchasing their kids game players, phones, and other devices. The consequences are life-changing for both addicted children and their families. Addicted kids frequently fail school, become depressed, have thoughts of hurting themselves, and can act out violently when parents attempt to set limits.
Treating game-addicted kids is a difficult process for both children and their families, as the addiction hijacks young brains and denies kids the insight to recognize their life is falling apart (“You’re the one with the problem mom!”). The behavior changes in addicted kids are also so profound that it leads many parents to say, “That’s not my child.”
I encourage you to learn more about video game addiction and to take actions to prevent your children or those you care for from developing the problem.