Why Video Games Are Addicting & How to Break the Habit

A recent Washington Post article really hits home for a lot of people we know. The article is titled, “Why Amazing Video Games Could be Causing a Big Problem for America,” and it details the reality that a number of parents are now facing. In short, kids (mostly males) would rather stay at home and play video games than go to college or get a job.

If you think about it, it does make some sense. Why would someone bother with school and employment when they can simply stay at home and play video games? More often than not, the children that are choosing this path have cars that are already paid for and parents that work (even in their retirement years) to put food on the table.

The problem with enjoying a life spent playing video games is that there will come a time when mom and dad cannot pay for everything (or when the savings fund is completely drained). When that happens, these kids will not have any skills, education, or ability to find high-paying jobs - and it gets worse.

Many of the jobs that do not require particular skills or education are being replaced by machines. This means that our society will soon have a large number of adult males relying on the welfare system - a system that cannot support such a massive amount of people.

So what can you do if your child is starting to prefer a home life filled with video games to one that includes college and work?

  1. Limit screen time: It’s going to take a bit of tough love, but the first step is to set screen time rules. Limiting screen time to one hour per day works for toddlers and it can be applied to older kids as well.
  2. Reward more: another thing you can do to help your child transition is to set up rewards. The aforementioned article notes that kids like video games because they offer rewards that are relatively simple to achieve. What if those rewards were handed out in the real world? You could offer some kind of compensation for less screen time or a reward for attending a real world-class or event. If you want your child to go to college, consider offering a major reward once that diploma has been obtained.
  3. Arrange activities and other events: getting your child involved with other activities is a good way to limit screen time. The added bonus here is that if your child makes friends that are interested in other things, he probably won’t care as much about video games.
  4. Log hours: keep track of how long your child plays video games weekly. Then, present him with those numbers and link them to other things that could have been accomplished during that time. Sometimes doing something like finishing a course can seem long and impossible, but if you show your child that they spend the same amount of time playing video games, the course no longer looks so tedious.
  5. Note the changing landscape: as mentioned above, jobs that do not require education are becoming very scarce. Don’t try and hide this fact from your child. Instead, bring out the numbers and explain the very real possibility that they might end up on welfare.

A video game addiction is a real thing that can seem overwhelming for a lot of parents, but there are ways to get your child away from the screen and into real life.