Screen time

gaming photo

As many of parents with kids of all ages know, the obsessive features of screen time and modern video games would come as no surprise. I often have to remind myself that my relationship with my screen, be it a phone/tablet/computer, is part of what my children are learning from my example.  And so it is imperative that I have a healthy relationship with my screen as we will be together a long time, and my child’s relationship with their screen will be even longer!  So let’s start a conversation about the addictive characteristics of gaming (and social media usage).  Here are the criteria to be aware of as outlined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA):

  • Preoccupation with gaming.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when gaming is taken away or not possible (sadness, anxiety, irritability).
  • Tolerance—the need to spend more time gaming to satisfy the urge.
  • Inability to reduce playing, unsuccessful attempts to quit gaming.
  • Giving up other activities, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities due to gaming.
  • Continuing to game despite problems.
  • Deceiving family members or others about the amount of time spent on gaming.
  • The use of gaming to relieve negative moods, such as guilt or hopelessness and to escape from struggle in peer or social settings.
  • Risk, having jeopardized or lost a job or relationship due to gaming.

The APA has published a guideline for parents to promote healthy technology use for children and their recommendations, which can be found here.  Highlights for me will always go back to having a healthy relationship with self and others first; screens and media after.  Consider screens not being allowed in the bedroom and not before bedtime. Reduce, replace and reset as often as needed in a day.  Look at resources such as https://www.commonsensemedia.org, and books by Nicholas Kardaras: Glow Kids and Catherine Steiner-Adaim The Big Disconnect.

As always, further consultation is always available.