My 14-year-old is addicted to video games and gets agitated when I ask him to stop. Help!


Query
Our child just turned 14. He is spending a lot of time online playing games. When we tell him to stop or help around, he locks himself in his room and doesn’t talk. How do we find a solution to this without spoiling relations? I don’t want him to hate me. Please suggest.

Response from Dr. Ishita Mukerji, Senior Psychologist, Kaleidoscope, a mental wellness centre

More time spent on quick entertainment like video games in turn decreases child’s attention span and hurts their listening skills too. Studies also indicate that excessive gaming may cause anxiety, social phobia and pose to be counter-productive to theirholistic development.

However, your goal as a parent should not be to remove the child’s access to the games completely, instead it should be to help him create a balance between time spent on video games and otherphysical activities (indoor/outdoor) which is the demand of a growing body.

While spending too much screen time is a cause of concern, you should first ascertain whether this is a temporary behavior due to the current lockdown or a regular routine. In case you have noticed it in the current times, it might be because of the restrictions imposed on going out and meeting with his friends and involve in social activities.

You need to be little patient with your child and follow the tips below to manage the situation.

• Try & engage your child in multiple indoor activities everyday like playing board games, listening to music or even trying karaoke, nutritional cooking etc. This shall also cement the family bond.

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• Set time limit for your child to play in moderation and also define few extra hours for a weekend as compared to a school day. Keep a track on his gaming hours.

• Reward your child as he participates in household chores.

• Introduce your child to other physical activities ranging from biking, running, reading, gift a new instrument and enroll him to learn the same.

• Encourage your child to stay connected with friends and cousins to keep the conversation going. This shall also keep a check on his feelings & emotions.

• In case the situation gets out of control, consult a therapist or your pediatrician for early intervention to cure your child’s ‘addiction’ to video games.

If you have a parenting query to share, send it to us at times.parenting@gmail.com



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