Video game addiction is a very real problem amongst young people, that simply did not exist before the 1980s. It is estimated that up to 75 percent of young persons play video games on a regular basis. For most, this is not a problem. However, for others, gaming can become an addiction just as an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol, or a gambler is addicted to gambling. There is no specific category as of yet in the DSM-IV for video game addictions, but its attributes clearly fall under the addiction umbrella when diagnosing.
How can you tell if your child has a problem with gaming? There are very specific things to watch out for if a parent is trying to discern if their child has a problem with gaming. Warning signs may include a child spending all of his non-school time gaming, gaming in private or secret, loss of interest in activities, poor academic performance, and responsibility avoidance. A child that spends too much time gaming may also suffer from headaches, nausea, insomnia, dry eyes, and other problems, and may also have a co-occurring disorder with food, eating too much or too little.
The key to combating video game addiction is complete abstinence and separation from the device. Parents at home may have a hard time doing this. Older kids can easily go to friends' houses to play, or to arcades. Here at Rites of Passage NW, there are no video game consoles or systems. We have no nearby cell towers, so even if mobile devices were allowed, Wi-Fi does not exist here. After some time rediscovering nature and life, our teens learn how to life live without the use of video games. Teens will also participate in group and individual therapy sessions to help get at the root of the addiction problem.