The development of the internet and the online world has opened up a new range of possibilities for problems and mental health issues in teenagers. Not only are teenagers now faced with more pressures from society based on what they see online, but they are also exposed to areas of the internet which could easily cause addiction. One of these problematic areas is online gaming addiction.
While you may initially think that playing games aren’t necessarily a cause for concern, serious internet gaming addiction and the inability to stop playing can have a detrimental effect on your teen’s mental and physical health. Playing games is, of course, a great pastime for those who enjoy it. When addiction to gaming begins, and when the effects of playing a game overwhelm a teenager, that’s when you need to seek gaming addiction help.
At Ignite Treatment Centers, we offer a range of tailored treatment programs to help any teen suffering from addiction to video games or internet gaming, and the subsequent effects of video game addiction.
How to Identify a Gaming Addiction
It can be very tricky for a parent who is not overly familiar with the online world, or who knows nothing about video games or online gaming, to be able to identify when their teen has a problem with gaming addiction. Especially when games played online can be enjoyable pastimes and a great activity for your teen to share with their friends.
Games are enjoyable, and if your teen loves playing games and spends the majority of their time playing them, that doesn’t necessarily warrant an addiction. However, evident signs of an addiction include:
- Spending an unhealthy amount of time playing games (such as avoiding sleep, exercise or canceling other activities to continue playing games)
- Spending a high amount of money on gaming consistently, even if they can’t afford to.
It’s essential to understand the difference between enjoyment and obsession.
It may even be that your teen acknowledges that they spend too much time on gaming, but feel they are unable to stop or express vocally that they would like to stop yet continue to play.
When Does Gaming Addiction Become a Problem?
As mentioned above, gaming addiction becomes a big issue when your teen is leading an unhealthy lifestyle because of it. They may be failing to exercise or spending all their time indoors without physical activity, for example.
Serious problems form when your teen can’t concentrate on any other aspect of their life. This includes their school work, their job, or with their friends and family, due to their obsession with gaming. Plus, if they are potentially getting into debt because of their gaming addiction.
Spending too much money on gaming is more easily done in the modern world, due to the ease with which smart devices and computers allow gamers to connect financial information seamlessly. A game may offer in-app purchases, for example, or else provide extra gaming content at a price.
Your teen may also feel pressure to spend long hours gaming or to spend a lot of money on games, if their friends are avid gamers and if they seek to fit in or receive peer pressure from friends to play games. The probability of this increases when you factor in multiplayer game options, which means your teen can easily connect with friends remotely to play games online, and can, therefore, easily develop an internet gaming disorder.
If you suspect your teen of suffering from any form of gaming addiction, and if you’re worried about the effect this will have on their mind and body, then you need to find out how to stop gaming addiction.
Social Media Addiction
Social media itself can easily result in an addiction manifesting, not to mention the opportunity for games offered through social media. Teens can easily spend hours and hours scrolling through social media, and this has only exacerbated with the rise of new social media platforms and new content being added every second of the day.
While your teen may naturally want to use social media, and it can be a healthy place for a teen to connect with other people, it can also be a dangerous one regarding addictive behaviors. There is a possibility of your teen developing mental health issues as a response to what they are seeing on social media and the pressures they might be feeling.
It is possible to seek social media addiction treatment if you fear your teen is suffering from this.
Can I Stop my Teen from Developing a Gaming Addiction?
As a parent living with your teen, there are many rules and restrictions you can put in place to prevent your teen from developing an unhealthy addiction. These rules may not sit well with your teen, but they will be for your teen’s own good when necessary.
Setting restrictions on when your teen can play games in the home is a start. You could make sure that your teen is only playing games after they have finished other activities or tasks, such as their homework, chores, or exercise plan. You also have the power to control the internet connectivity of the house. This means if you suspect your teen is spending too much time online, you can disconnect the internet at any time, or set timers and restrictions on your teen’s computer or device.
Doing so can help your teen to have a healthier routine with their gaming. It doesn’t mean that you are stopping them from playing games; it simply means you are controlling the amount of time spent on them.
Nevertheless, these rules and restrictions may not work. An addicted teen may seek out other ways to play their games, such as using the internet of public spaces or using the internet at their friend’s house or else respond angrily to any restrictions placed on them.
If you believe your teen’s addiction has developed too severely, then treatment centers like Ignite can help.
I Think My Teen Has a Gaming Addiction: What Do I Do?
Contacting an addiction facility for your teen is a good step to getting them back on track. Ignite’s residential treatment center for troubled teens is designed to help you and your teen tackle their gaming addiction problem. We can offer many therapy options, including cognitive behavioral therapy for teens, counseling sessions, equine therapy, and more. Our residential arrangement means that your teen will also be getting a break from their home environment into a new setting where they will be separated from their games and the internet to focus entirely on their recovery.
Gaming should be an enjoyable pastime and not a cause for addiction and mental health problems in your teen. We want to help your teen to get back to enjoying their hobbies, and to help them understand how to use safe practices online to avoid addictive behavior.
We are fully equipped to stop gaming addiction in its tracks. If you need any questions answered, or if you are unfamiliar with the world of gaming addiction and need professional support in helping your teen, then contact Ignite Centers today. We’re here to help.