Tips for cutting down video game overuse in children

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Is your child addicted to video games? Experts say it’s a very real concern that can have dangerous consequences.

Children who overuse video games are more likely to have negative impacts on their school performance, be prone to obesity and have difficulty fostering friendships and developing social skills.

Warning signs for gaming overuse can be seen when the child chooses gaming over anything else, they’re behind in school and they lie about their video game use.

“If you take the video games away and the child is very irritable, very cranky for a long period of time, if all of these things are happening, your child is overusing video games,” said UAB psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow.

Klapow says developing an incentive system that uses video games as a reward for good behavior is helpful.

He encourages parents to set time limits to no more than 20 minutes a day. Kids should also take “reality breaks” after gaming, which requires the child to discuss what else is going on in life.

Lastly, Klapow says it’s important to involve peers in the process. Invite friends over for your child to play video games with, which is a good tool to keep them from being in isolation.

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

 

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