Do you worry that your child who loves gaming more than anything else has an addiction?
If so, chances are you panic and fear a future for your child that is not pretty. In that emotional state you react in anger and wield threatening consequences when your child resists and get into ugly power struggles that create a wider and wider gulf between you. You feel hopeless and your child grabs for every screen second he can. “Consequences” do nothing.
There is a big difference between a hobby gamer and an addicted gamer — and you need to know the difference.
Gaming is a thrill for many kids. It’s an arena where success and feeling in charge are more easily achieved for children who don’t find it in school or social relationships. It’s easy to connect with others through a game, and mastery is euphoric. It’s the mastery part that can be addictive, especially for the child who finds it nowhere else.
When gaming is a hobby:
I am a big proponent of trust — allowing your child to self-regulate , which he can do best when he knows he is trusted, when you talk about time spent on devices and set limits that you both agree are reasonable. Nagging, threatening, and taking away privileges will lead your child to hoard game time and get sneakier and more divisive with his screentime.