How much is too much when it comes to gaming?
Is your child spending a lot of time gaming? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between healthy enthusiasm and excessive use. But as a general rule, if your child is coping with school, playing sport or other hobbies, has friends, and seems happy and healthy, you probably have the balance about right.
Watch our video with Dave from The Parenting Place recommending a few hints on what to look for your in your kids behaviour if you’re concerned about too much game time.
If, however, they seem to put gaming ahead of other aspects of life, and become irritated or anxious when they’re not able to play a game, it might be time to have a chat and set some ground rules before things get out of control.
Simple ways to keep gaming in check.
- Start by setting clear rules. Make an agreement about how many hours per day are allowed, what kinds of games can be played. Perhaps gaming is only allowed after homework and certain chores are done – or agree to go 50/50 on what needs to be done before games can be a reward: some chores, then some games, then homework, then games.
- Encourage them to spend time doing other activities – like sports, music, or clubs – to balance out their game time.
- Pay attention to how much time your child spends gaming. Is it increasing rapidly? Or interfering with their eating or sleeping?
- Recognise any underlying problems. Is your child stressed about something in another area of their life? Sometimes children may ‘escape’ into the world of gaming if they are having problems in their social life.
- Keep gaming technology in shared family spaces, rather than bedrooms. That way, they’ll be less tempted to sneak online and play games late into the night.
From problem solving to strategic thinking, online gaming can help with development – it’s the power of play. But at the same time, the most successful games are designed to be somewhat addictive. Balance is the key. If you need more help or information around online behaviour, try these links: