Is your child a gamer? According to the American Psychological Association, it’s likely. The Association has found that more than 90% of American kids play video games.
With that level of accessibility and early exposure comes an increased risk of developing a problem with gaming. But Change The Game Ohio has tools and resources that can help parents and caregivers ensure their child’s gaming experience remains fun and responsible.
It starts with knowing the facts. Problem gaming for youth can go beyond just video games. In fact, card games, sports betting, or lottery tickets are also common gambling activities for youth.
But when it comes to video games, many include loot boxes that give users a chance to win in-game prizes, leading players to chase their losses — a common behavior of problem gambling. Add in the loot boxes, spin-to-win rewards, and the lure of “big wins,” and many youth can find the pull of gaming too hard to resist.
That’s why it’s crucial to talk to the child in your life about their behavior and set limits, especially if they’re exhibiting signs of developing a potential problem. A few of the warning signs include:
- Missing classes or school days with no explanation
- Having a sudden drop in grades or leaving assignments incomplete
- Showing disinterest in extracurricular activities
- Exhibiting an increased interest in money and the value of possessions
If any of these behaviors sound familiar, it could be time to talk to your child about their gaming. A good way to start is by asking questions about their gaming activity and listening diligently to their answers. From there, encourage healthy gaming activities and set limits on the devices your child uses to play.
Setting limits can look different for every child and family, but can include placing restrictions on their devices, setting a time limit, or signing your child up for an after-school activity. Allowing your child to be an active participant in setting the limits encourages them to take ownership of their gaming choices.
However, if your child is still struggling and is no longer having fun, or it’s negatively affecting their mood or spending habits, they may have a problem. Learn more about responsible gaming practices for youth at: ChangeTheGameOhio.org.