Problematic gaming

Lots of people like to play video or online games and lots of people spend many hours of their spare time gaming. For lots of people this is ok and they are able to have other hobbies and interests, see friends and they can still get on with their everyday life. For others this love of gaming can tip into being unhelpful and impact on their life in a damaging way.

It is possible to be at risk of or develop an addiction to gaming in a similar way to those who are at risk of or addicted to substances (such as drugs or alcohol).

Here are some signs that your child might have a problem that needs help:

  • They are constantly thinking about or wanting to play the game
  • They are irritable and restless (fidgety) when not playing
  • They underreport or lie about how much time they spend playing or play in secret (such as in the middle of the night)
  • They are overly tired, complain of headaches or hand pain (from too much screen time and use of controllers)
  • They stop attending to things like personal hygiene (e.g., washing) or eating
  • They don't see friends as often or do other things they used to enjoy doing as all their free time is spent gaming
  • They don't want to go to school so that they can game instead

Not everyone who has a gaming addiction will experience all the signs. Also, if your child is experiencing some of these signs this does not necessarily mean that they have a gaming addition, but it is important to get help and advice.

According to experts, some of the most addictive online games are:

  • Fortnite Battle Royale
  • World of Warcraft
  • Battlefield
  • Farmville
  • Call of Duty
  • Minecraft
  • Angry Birds
  • Solitaire

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