Pressing the Reward Button: Video Game Addiction

TrophiesPlaying Too Many Video Games?

Do you feel like your child is acquiring a video game addiction? If he has played video games for any length of time, you have probably noticed that they seem very eager to do it again. It’s become a habit. What’s more, it may be a quality of desire that may seem different from other childhood desires–more insistent, urgent, almost serious. Because of what this may lead to, develop your awareness of early signs of video game addiction. I don’t mean addiction in a proven, scientific sense, but in the parental one. You know, as a parent, when your child seems to have an unhelpful level of desire, a distracting habit. This is your chance to create a diversion from technology.

To this end, notice the next time they ask to play another video game. Compare it to their request to ride their bike again (if they even ask that anymore). You may sense the vaguest tone of desperation in their voice.

What this means to me is that the child’s reward facility in their brain has been visited one too many times. For example, your child may have earned “achievements,” acquired points, achieved high scores and attained new levels. If you allow shooter games, they may have earned high KDR’s (kill death ratios). Each time, they seem to be creating an urge for more video game “success.”

Addiction to Stimulation

The repetitive, intangible rewards earned through video gaming have a not invisible effect on the modern child. In short, an addiction to stimulation seems quickly pressed into their personality. It may be time to create a diversion from technology.

What can you do?  Ameliorate this desire for video game stimulation–blossoming video game addiction–by diversifying your child’s experiences.  For example, today I asked my son to return a few overdue library books. His friend tagged along. They rode their scooters, had some youthful freedom, stopped at the corner store for a snack on the way home, and got out into nature and sunshine. Would he have preferred to continue playing video games? Yes. Was the diversion from technology helpful? Yes.  Does his soul thank me for the break? Yes. Whatever you would consider an appropriate diversion from technology, find a way to incorporate it into your child’s day. Help him create new habits of being.

Diversion from Technology

Be assured, children do need your help with this. Even at their young ages, they are coming under the sway of technology’s addictive aspects. Maybe they are even mimicking mom and dad in this regard. For this reason, you need to be the adult power who can properly direct their activities away from the computer for valuable other life experiences–and turn KDR into a Kid who’s Developing Reasonably.

To read more on this topic, go to Pressing the Reward Button: Part 2 .

To read a more humorous angle, go to

Photo Creative Commons License Brad.K via Compfight