20 Apr Video Game Obsession – 3 Quick Ways to Set Healthy Limits
Remember the days when video games were a privilege and something that wasn’t as main streamed as a social outing? As kids, we would play outside, ride our bikes, and go to the park with friends. It seems that in today’s society, video game obsession is taking over and causing frustration for both parents and children. Children are constantly asking to play Fort Nite or Call of Duty online with friends and spending money buying gear for their characters. Parents are asking their children to go play outside or do something more active. If this sounds like something you have experienced, you may struggle on knowing the appropriate ways to balance and set limits on your child’s video games.
I have often heard the frustration from parents that their children are spending too much time on video games and not enough time helping out around the house. Understanding how to balance fun and recreation with being responsible in the home is an important part of independent growth. Today, I want to provide you with 3 tips to set healthy limits that can help you manage video game obsession.
Time limit and Routine
It’s important to sit down with your children and come up with a video game time limit. For example, during the school week (Monday-Thursday) they are allowed to play for 30 minutes after school from 3:30pm-4:00pm. During the weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), they can play for 1-2 hours (depending on their age) in the morning, afternoon, or before dinner. These rules need to be specific and clear. Remember to tell your children about the rules when there are no distractions happening and they are fully listening. Let’s say you want to have extra video game time as a reward. That’s okay to do, but establish this with the video game rules. For example, if they get this reward it’s an extra 30 minutes. Children may ask for extended time in their games or try to guilt you into playing more times a day than you have established. Remember to hold your boundary and to not give into this request.
Size of the Problem
When children have strong reactions to turning off the video games and transitioning to the next event, remind them the size of the problem. Some children tend to have huge reactions towards this moment and as parents it can be difficult to reason with them. We want to help our children self-regulate independently. Challenging their thinking by asking if this is a small, medium, or huge problem can be effective. This can always put things in a better perspective for them in order to realize that their reaction is not matching the size of the problem. If your child struggles significantly with transitions, transition objects can be a positive replacement to use in these moments.
Video games have universally become a way for people to socialize with their friends when they are not with them. This can establish healthy social communication patterns between friends and assist with building rapport with peers. It is important to monitor who your children are playing with and making
sure their online friends are children you know. Safety first! Also, it is important to be mindful that your children may be playing online with their friends. Provide your children with the line, “Let your friends know this is the last game.” This will reduce strong reactions and maintain frustration tolerance as well as not damaging their “social” interactions. Remember what we discussed in the first tip! Talk with your children and establish these rules before using them to help you manage their video game obsession.
Sarah is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology (Counseling Practice) with a credential in Clinical Child and Family Psychology at Roosevelt University. She also has a Bachelor’s of Science in psychology with a minor in child development and family studies from Purdue University. Since 2011, Sarah has worked with children, teens, young adults, and families in a variety of different settings including day care centers, educational settings, healthcare facilities, and community mental health settings. When she is not with clients, Sarah enjoys the city of Chicago, working out, attending sporting events, and spending time with her family and friends.
Sarah’s professional experience spans all ages Her work with children, teens, and their families includes assisting her clients in tackling emotional, behavioral, and developmental challenges to reach their highest potential. She believes in providing a safe and non-judgmental environment where clients work in a collaborative relationship with their therapist to develop specific skills to achieve a positive outcome. She works with children and teens who are struggling with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, impulsivity, defiant behavior, attention issues, school refusal, trauma, low frustration tolerance, and emotional regulation. Sarah often utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT), and play therapy in her sessions. She is passionate about encouraging children to communicate their emotions while understanding that their family needs to feel heard and be able to leave the session with a solution. Sarah believes that empowering families to continue to work with their children in stressful situations is a key element in helping families achieve positive outcomes in the therapeutic process.
Sarah is also trained in working with young adults and couples and works collaboratively with them to cope and problem-solve with life-cycle transitions, family conflict, communication problems, infidelity, separation, and divorce. Sarah provides an open, non-judgmental, empathetic, and compassionate setting to allow young adults and couples to feel safe to talk about difficult issues. Sarah believes that anyone who has the motivation and willingness to ask for help shows qualities of bravery and courage, and has her respect.