Gaming

App and game developers use similar persuasive technology techniques to those used by the gambling industry, to make games irresistible, compulsive and hard to stop.

 

Parents should be aware of the "real age" rating of games, and the impact of first shooter games on young, impressionable minds.

 

Use parental control filters to help kids manage their gaming time, as well as filter unwanted text and chat messages. Settings for games can also be changed to protect the identity and location of your kids, to keep them safer.

Internet Gaming Disorder is recognised as a growing global issue, with some countries declaring it a public health crisis due to the increasing number of children that are struggling with it.

Keeping gaming habits under control is not something that comes easily to everyone. For some people, online gaming becomes the most important thing in their lives, affecting academic and work performance, relationships, pysical and mental health, and financial security.

The American Psychiatric Association has nine criteria for characterising a gaming disorder: pre-occupation, withdrawal,
increased game time tolerance, inability to reduce or stop, giving up other activities, continuing to game despite negative consequences, deceiving or covering up gaming, escaping from personal problems or feelings, risking relationships or other life opportunities.

The question to ask is whether gaming is interfering with your child’s life? This could mean a deterioration in grades, no time or interest to interact socially with his peers other than during gaming, damaged relationships with family members or a preoccupation with gaming, thinking about it constantly, playing whenever possible, and feeling restless or irritable when not playing.

From functional imaging studies, scientists can see that gaming affects the brain like substance addictions. When someone addicted to gaming sees images relating to the games they play, the same areas of the brain activate as those of people addicted to substances and experiencing cravings. Games work on what’s called a variable reward system, the same as pulling a lever on a slot machine in a casino. The hope that you’re going to make it big is balanced with a little bit of frustration, and unlike the slot machine, a sense of skill needed to improve, which keeps you at it.

If you see signs in your child that he may be addicted to gaming, try to cut back the amount of time he/she spends playing, by setting certain gaming hours. It is also important that you model responsible technology use because actions speak louder than words. Insist that everyone in the family turn off devices at specific times of day, such as over dinner or when studying. When you try to cut back and find that your child just can’t do it, or that his responses to the limitations are irrational and severe, you may need some professional help.

There are three main motivation components to gaming, which incites us to spend our time and money on games : achievement (our want and needs to advance in the game, right till the finish, along with a curiosity in the system and rules of the game and the want to have a fair competition with others in the game); social (our need to form social connections, be a part of a group and chat with different people); immersion (an escape from the mundaneness and woes of life for a short period of time).

Gaming can be more than just a fun but time consuming and expensive hobby. Game addiction, also known as Internet Gaming Disorder, is generally defined as the problematic, compulsive use of internet games that overtakes all other activities, leading to numerous negative consequences in the gamer's life.

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