Video games are an emotional outlet for many kids. Through their video games they can develop a sense of comradery unlike any other place in their life.
When a child has any level of difficulty making friends in the real world (as opposed to through the virtual world), then these relationships can be remarkably satisfying. Further, if the parents themselves are busy and not fully present to meet the emotional needs of their kids, then these online connections can become more attractive.
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Because video games are not a substance the child ingests, some folks argue as to whether or not they can be truly addictive. Others though look to brain science and concern themselves with the pleasure centres of the brain and how neurotransmitters such as dopamine, known to create good feelings, can be the cause of a video game addiction.
Without getting into the science of addition though, one need only ask the questions, “can my child limit or curtail their video game use? Does setting limits on use give rise to oppositional or negotiating behaviour? Does seeking to set limits create anger and hostility as well as an escalation of challenging behaviour?
If you see untoward behaviour as a result of limiting video game use, then in a sense, it can be addictive.
As with any addition, negotiating an amount of play may be like trying to negotiate the cocaine user’s use of that substance. To add, in this context, no amount of cocaine and likely no amount of video game use may be healthy.
Any use forever leads to ongoing negotiation and distraction from other obligations and responsibilities of life.
Parents may argue over these issues. They are advised to consider the above questions and address the situation dispassionately.
Does video game use interfere in your child’s life and does seeking to limit it escalate problems?
If you answer yes to those questions, your child may have a problem.
Although the child may be argued over as the problem, the real solution has to do with helping the parents find a mutually acceptable solution. That can only be achieved through negotiation.
Your lawyer can help you with that and point you to a counsellor.