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How To Tell If Your Kid Is Addicted To Video Games Or If Your Kid Is Addicted To The Media

How To Tell If Your Kid Is Addicted To Video Games Or If Your Kid Is Addicted To The Media
August 27, 2015

There are so many screens these days--Laptops, cell phones, televisions, video game systems and even tablets.  And with each of these small or large screens come a more concerning issue; that of your child being addicted to screen time. Screen time is the time your child spends in front of anything from a computer, to a television to even their mobile device--and it ALL adds up.  :(

It could be that you are noticing that your kids play too many video games, or you as a parent are concerned that the video games they are playing are exceptionally violent or of other questionable content. Even if it is just one video game that they play, there is a very real possibility they could be playing that game over and over and over and over again--with HOURS of their daily lives slipping away through the control joystick, into that screen.

But screen addictions certainly do not stop there with excessive time playing a video game. Let's take a closer look at social media.  Does your child come un-glued when the power on their mobile device is waning and they have no way of charging it?  (Imagine the emotional trauma of that taking place?!)  Or perhaps you are going on a family outing--a hike in a canyon--and they cannot get a signal?  GASP!  You'd think the earth is splitting apart. This is yet another sign of possible screen addictions--even if the source is social media being viewed upon their cell phone...

And finally what about television? Yep, that still is a big one. With kids spending DAYS watching episode after episode of their favorite series which they may have missed (ironically enough) due to the fact they may have been involved in video games or other late-night gaming sessions. So how do you tell if your kid is addicted to video games or if your kid is addicted to the media and especially having excessive screen time?

According to many experts, bad things happen when a child is spending an unhealthy amount of time in front of any of these screens. Well according to our friends and one of the main Play Unplugged sponsors at Intermountain Healthcare (IHC), here are some of the signs that will give them away and tell you that your child may have a screen addition:

  • Gaining weight due to more sedentary lifestyle.  This can be very noticeable during the summer months.
  • Skipping meals.  The fact that the excessive screen time can lead the brain to actually release higher dopamine levels means that the screen is now more important a priority than hunger.
  • Staying up too late.  Yeppers.  The fact that kids will remain in their rooms playing on either mobile devices or laptops is a dead giveaway that they may be 'e-dicted' to their gaming systems or mobile device.
  • Neglecting schoolwork revealed by lower grades.  Why do homework when you can play video games or immerse yourself in the world of social media?  This is a strong indicator that your child may need help in realigning their priorities and can tell you if your child is addicted to screen time.
  • A general withdrawal from friends.  If your child is retreating more into the virtual world, then you will see less and less of their once present friends at your home.

If your child manifests any of these symptoms in more and more noticeable ways, Play Unplugged suggests you may want to speak to your doctor for advice. These screen time maladies have  been linked to greater stress and susceptibility to diabetes, asthma, depression and even obesity, since screen addictions are associated with--but not always--unhealthy snacking of high sugary and salty foods.

Remember that each and every minute your child spends playing a video game or cruising through their social media landscape, it's ONE LESS MINUTE they could be engaging in physical activity, developing healthy social skills and not being deprived of sleep! And as most parents know, those minutes certainly add up and often shock people as the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered back in 2010. To read this study CLICK HERE

But here are some tips from Intermountain Healthcare as to what you can do to avoid those results of your child spending too much time in front of video games and television:

  • Limit non-educational screen time to no more than two hours per day.  Remember the Kaiser Family study above?  It showed that kids spend seven hours and 38 minutes a day!!
  • Keep any and all screens out of the child's bedrooms.  You cannot monitor what you cannot see 24/7, so if there are no screens in the room where your child goes to sleep, that reduces the likelihood of that happening.
  • Plan and organize media-free family time.  Play board games, take a walk together or just help each other around the house.

Following these tips will help your family be happy and productive as well as ensuring they are not 'e-dicted' in their daily lives to screens...

#weplayunplugged #HowToTellifMyChildIsAddicted #screenaddictions #IntermountainHealthcare #Videogameaddiction