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Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults > Computer Game Addiction
My 16 year has anxiety with going out of his comfort zone. He is addicted to his computer...he plays games & nothing sexual or violent....we went to florida for a week and he stayed in his room with his laptop the whole time...he doesn't like to go out and his friends are online buddies....when we go to family events he isolates himself from everyone...he opted for on-line schooling as he could not take any more high school...and begged me to withdraw and let him do this online school and he has not been doing the work he needs to be doing with his courses and all he does when i talk to him is just a look and declares himself happy....and he refuses to go to a counselor...help
So, with your son, who is in charge? It simply has to be you. If you feel that he needs professional help (and I agree that such a consultation is appropriate) then you must get this done! If your son had a serious medical condition, would you allow him to choose not to go to a doctor? Nope. Then, make an appointment with a therapist. Tell your son he is going and inform him of the consequences if he makes a poor choice and refuses to cooperate. Let him know that you fully intend to do your job as a parent. One possible consequence for such a refusal comes to mind immediately- take away his computer if your son continues to refuse to go for the help you as his parent feels he needs. anon
Our foster son, who has a lot of anxiety as well as a lot to recover from, would be happy to just play online from rise to bedtime. We set a school-year weekly limit of 15 hours and a summer limit of 21 hours. He can earn or lose time based on his behavior. Because he has behavioral issues, this is one of our few points of leverage. It has been very effective.
Stand firm. He cannot just drop out of school and life. It's up to you to set limits. online game time is a privilege, not a right
My 13-yr-old son in 8th grade quit martial arts and now hangs around talking on phone & using the computer. He loved martial arts - had been at it since he was 3. When I asked him Why, he said ''It takes up too much of my life'' The point here is that he wants to hang around & use computer and do nothing else. This is isolating, bad for his eyes & body, makes him miss out opportunities to develop personality & learn social skills and makes him a boring, sheltered person. I suppose it would be OK for him to be in dance, sports,etc. as long as he has some physical activity out of the house where he is with others--but he flatly refuses. It is not OK to sit with eyes glued to screen getting ruined & body turning into mush & just being isolated in this little virtual world. It gets to the point where he does not want to answer when I am talking to him. It's the computer & phone that are taking over life (yes i sometimes take it away, but i need it myself & eventually it comes back. I suggest many different activities and look at magazines to find more, but he shoots down every one. I am hoping someone out there has a suggestion; maybe you went thru something like this & found a solution.
Somehow we grew up okay without all the electronic devices. You are paying the bills for these devices, so you can turn them off. Parent of teens
My son is 17 and was recently diagnosed w/ ADHD and LD by a neuropsychologist. We had him tested because we were concerned about his grades, which had been very good, but curved down to bottom by junior year. He is very intelligent, but does very little homework. He sees a therapist, a learning specialist and has a 504 plan at BHS.
He plays World of Warcraft compulsively. Treatment by his therapists does not seem to help him come to the realization that his gaming is a problem. When we (the parents) take away the game, he goes on strike and doesn't go to school.
Questions: Does anyone have any experience with World of Warcraft addiction? If so, what has helped your child? Are there any local therapists who specialize in this? What about residential treatment or boarding schools? I am at wit's end. Any advice or sharing of experience would be appreciated. anon
There is no guarantee that every teenager will make it through their teen years, nowadays.
Radical treatment is needed here. Get rid of his computer, admittedly difficult to do. Electronic screens in general, have become the malaise of American children.
Call the BUSD attendance office and/or the Berkeley Police if necessary. It is nothing to feel shy or stigmatized about.
You can't let your son control the situation. You need to rein him in.
My own son has a degree of computer addiction (racing games). I sent him away to camp for 9 weeks this summer, largely to get him away from the computer.
Bill Gates lets his daughter use the computer 45 minutes on school nights and 1 hour on weekend nights. If that's enough time for Bill Gates' child, it's enough time for our sons.
Best of Luck and Don't Be Reticent! Berkeley Teacher and Mother
First, Iowa State psychology professor Douglas Gentile says there are red flags to watch for when it comes to any video game addiction. It's not the hours, he says, it's the impact on the rest of life. So here's the list of red flags: http://www.ibabuzz.com/aparentlyspeaking/2008/04/06/game-on-too-long/
World of Warcraft was a hot topic on a recent Q&A session we ran with CSU Dominguez Hills professor Larry Rosen, author of ''Me, Myspace and I'' (great book, by the way),Walnut Creek therapist Steven Freemire and Times video games blogger Danny Willis -- and Danny raised some particularly interesting points about why forcing a teen to go cold-turkey meets with the reception that, well, you've experienced. He says parents tend to think of these games like virtual solitaire, when they're more like varsity football. They're played in teams, so if your son doesn't show up to play, he's letting down real people to whom he made a commitment. So it may be helpful when you talk to your son, if you understand that to him, it's like being yanked off the varsity football team, or told he can only go to two practices a week -- in which case, the team will dump him. Your discussion will go better if he gets that you get it. Or at least, the door may not be slammed quite as hard.
Excerpts from the Q&A, as well as the full Times story, are archived here: http://www.ibabuzz.com/aparentlyspeaking/2008/04/06/game-on-too-long/ Jackie
As with any other excessive activity, he needs to be reminded who the parent is. Bring him into school if necessary. Take away other privledges. Whatever you have to do to re-establish the parent-child relationship. Jenny
I read about game addiction in a medical journal, and the effect on the brain appears to be similar to substance addiction--increasing use needed for the same ''high'', etc. This is exactly how WOW is set up. Not everyone is susceptible to it, but from what I read, as with substance abuse, if someone is really addicted, access to the game has to be cut off. Hopefully you will get recommendations for treatment from other readers. parent of WOW fan
My son is a sophomore at Albany High, and he appears to be addicted to video games. I think his ideal life would be sitting in front of a computer monitor with an IV in his arm to deliver enough nutrients and caffeine that he wouldn't have to eat or sleep. He also has started to lie to his mother and me -- and to his teachers -- about his schoolwork to maximize his access to the video games, particularly those on the web. He has some friends, but they tend to be limited to other "gamers."
Does anyone have any advice and/or good resources for dealing with this problem? In one sense, I'm glad he isn't out on the streets getting into drugs or other forms of trouble. But I fear his life has become so one-dimensional that he will be damaged as a result of this obsession. Anonymous
My son is a Senior at AHS and has the same addiction. We tried monitoring, reducing, limiting the hours he spent playing his favorite game (Diablo). These were all just band-aids put on a serious injury and ultimately not successful. We recently took the game and threw it in the garbage. He was, surprisingly, not angry, and seemed almost relieved. I realize that this isn't a permanent solution, since computers are everywhere, but it's a start. I wish I had taken more aggressive action a long time ago, and I urge any parents facing this same situation to take it seriously. Some may feel that the word addiction is thrown around too lightly these days and that this is not a true addiction. I can testify from our experience that this is an addiction, and one that is not easily broken. It's not as easy as just finding other activities for your son to take part in. While they're in their gaming mode, they don't want to do anything else. That is inherent in the nature of an addiction.
My husband recently did some research on the internet about gaming addiction and this is what he found.
From: http://www.vifamily.ca/cft/media/media.htm Parents and teachers often comment that "kids become absolutely wired" when absorbed in video games. Now, there's a scientific study which confirms that observation. In a study conducted at the Cyclotron Unit of Hammersmith Hospital in London, Dr. Paul Grasby and his fellow researchers determined that playing video games triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. The researchers discovered that dopamine production in the brain doubles during video game play. The increase of the psychoactive chemical was roughly the same as when a person is injected with amphetamines or the attention-deficit disorder drug, Ritalin. This is the first hard evidence that video game playing is addictive, "the equivalent of a dose of speed." From: http://www.computeraddiction.com/ Psychological Symptoms of computer addiction are: Having a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer Inability to stop the activity Craving more and more time at the computer Neglect of family and friends Feeling empty, depressed, irritable when not at the computer Lying to employers and family about activities Problems with school or jobAnother article about gaming addiction is at: http://pigseye.kennesaw.edu/~tbennet1/
The list of symptoms above described my son to a tee. Now that the game is gone, he has started going out more with friends and is friendlier to us around the house. I wish you luck with your son and his addiction. I know that every situation is unique, and you have to do what feels right to you. I certainly wish, for my son's sake, that I had known what I know now about this addiction. I am signing this anonymously, but if you wish to talk to me, let me know through this site and I'll contact you. Good luck.
Of course, it's impossible to know what kids are doing ALL of the time, but
it seems the key to getting this under control is to be firm and consistent
in setting limits. Hope that helps.
My 15 year old son often does not get up on time to get to school on time. He stays up too late and has his radio on all night. At times he seems to be addicted to computer games. I would like to get some advice as to how to deal with this situation.
The only thing that works is physically removing the computer. We tried many other tactics. We'd say ''computer after homework'' but he'd say he had no homework. We tried taking away the computer till grades improved, and they'd improve, he'd get the computer back, and grades would take a nose dive again. We tried locking the keyboard in the trunk of our car (he found another keyboard), unplugging the internet connection (he plugged it back after we went to bed) and taking out the graphics card (he borrowed one from a friend). So we have to take the CPU and lock it up. I feel like an ogre - I know how important email and instant messaging are to teens and I really hate to take it away. I am myself a software engineer who's on the computer all day. I like games myself. But he is completely unable to limit the time he spends on games - it really is an addiction. Now he only gets his computer on the weekends. Even though he is not in school anymore and has very little else to do. He complains continually and bitterly about this but even he agrees that he cannot control himself.
My advice: take the computer away. Give it to him on weekends if his grades are satisfactory. Don't crumble if he complains. Hold your ground. He will find other things to do.
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