Video game activity has become the norm among children and teenagers. Computers, Xboxes and handheld devices make it easy to play a game at any given time or place. While many parents may welcome the reprieve these games bring, when children spend all their time playing games, parents may want to start looking for signs of video game addiction.
According to the Global Community for Academic Advising, signs of video game addiction result when children and teenagers start to neglect other areas of their lives to play video games. If you as a parent are wondering whether your child may be spending too much time playing games, here are 10 signs of video game addiction to consider.
Psychological Signs of Video Game Addiction
- Mood Shifts
A child (or teenager) who goes from being cranky to feeling calm and relaxed when playing video games may be exhibiting a sign of video game addiction. Over time, a child may start to turn to video games as a way of coping with difficult life issues.
- Withdrawal Symptoms
When grounded from playing video games or unable to play, a child will experience feelings of anger and frustration, much like a food addict or gambler experiences withdrawal when unable to eat or gamble.
- Preoccupation with Video Games
Preoccupation with a pursuit is a key sign of any form of addiction. Children who eat, drink, sleep and talk about video games when not engaged in the activity have become preoccupied or obsessed with it.
Physical Signs of Video Game Addiction
- Poor Personal Hygiene
As with any addiction, teenagers become lost in the activity to the point of neglecting even the most essential daily tasks. Over time, a teenager will put less time into his or her appearance and overall cleanliness in general.
- Physical Problems
Hours and hours of playing video games inevitably take a toll on the body; even a child’s or teenager’s body. Eyestrain will produce dry or red eyes. Soreness in the fingers, back or neck is also common. Complaints of headaches may also start to occur on a frequent basis.
Behavioral Signs of Video Game Addiction
- Declining Interest in School Performance
As with any addictive behavior, the more a person indulges in an addictive pursuit the more he or she wants to indulge. Under these circumstances, it’s inevitable that interest in school work will start to decline.
- Loss of Interest in Other Activities
When it comes to video games, children (or teenagers) prone to addiction will spend more and more time at the game controls. Activities once enjoyed will start to fall by the wayside as video game addiction takes hold.
- Increased Aggression
Anyone who tries to limit or prevent the child from playing games is met with hostility and/or aggression.
Relationship Signs of Video Game Addiction
A child addicted to video gaming will want to spend less and less time with friends and family. For some children/teens, excessive isolation may indicate an underlying emotional problem, such as depression, is at work.
- Conflicts with Others
When confronted about the amount of time spend playing video games, a child will lie, blame others or become argumentative. Over time, relationships with friends and family start to suffer from neglect.