If you have come to this site, chances are you have a young person in your life about whom you are worried. This section for parents aims to provide an overview of problem gaming based on current research, to provide you with some tips and strategies to consider, to provide you with links to resources for support and to provide you access to some of the research related to gaming, problem gaming and gambling for young people.
Like “problem gambling”, gaming becomes “problematic” when it begins to have a detrimental impact on the gamer’s life. Spending many hours playing a game is not in itself indicative of a problem.
We can all spend hours absorbed in an activity we enjoy – reading a gripping book from cover to cover without stopping, painting a canvas, making a dress, watching films, watching sports, researching for a major assignment and so on. However long these activities take, they are naturally time limited because they end.
When such activites do end, we have to get another book, sew or paint something else and so on or we take a break and do something else for a while before we get absorbed in such a project again. Absorption such as this is healthy!
However, continuous forms of gambling like poker machines and games like MMO’s (Massively Multiplayer Online games) never end. Therefore, gamblers and gamers alike can become so absorbed in the play they lose track of time and may spend more money than they intended, with harmful consequences to themselves and to those who love them.
Gaming is not bad in and of itself. It’s not about time spent. It’s about the consequences to the person. In fact, research focusing on video game play among children has suggested that the best outcomes are associated with moderate video game play as opposed to no play or excessive play.
The ABC television show Good Game (a show about games for gamers) aired a segment last year that explored excessive game play. View it below or in a new browser tab or window on YouTube: