The available advice and strategies on how to help a child with gaming problems runs on a continuum from “It’s a phase, let it go.” to sending kids away to boot camps!
This page has general advice but is by no means comprehensive nor meant to substitute for professional, personalised support you would receive from a counsellor or other mental health professional. In fact, if you are deeply distressed and concerned about your child’s gaming habits, please go to the referrals page and contact one of the organisations listed there.
Advice from our youth consultants
Our youth consultants (aged 12-17) have plenty of great informal advice for parents from kids.
- “Don’t just turn off the computer or disconnect the internet! That will just make kids really angry and they aren’t going to listen to you.”
- “If you want your kid to come out from behind a monitor, give them a good reason!” (Sitting around watching TV with you and the rest of the family is NOT a good reason.)
- “Don’t use “I told you so!” It’s a cop out and we know it!”
- “If my parents tell me ‘You need to stop gaming’ and I ask why, then “Because you’re playing too much!” is not the answer! I want to know why they are concerned about my game time – what’s the problem with it?”
- “Respect our intelligence! Give us solid reasons!”
- “In my case, my parents explained they were worried about my grades and that my grades going down could affect my chances of getting into the high school I wanted to go to. That made sense to me.”
Stories from gamer families
Interview with a gamer dad
Educator, researcher, author and gamer dad Dean is currently undertaking a PhD in Media with a focus on children aged 4-12 and games – and the negotiations that go on between parents and kids around games. He shares his insights with us on how he manages his children’s gaming time and makes the point it IS possible to strike a balance.
We interviewed Trevor (not his real name) about how he lost control of his gaming and lost friends, gained weight and his life focus narrowed down to achieving on one game. Learn how he made a comeback and read his advice to parents.
We also interviewed Trevor’s mum about what it was like being the parent of an obsessed gamer.
Setting limits on video games
Dr. Sheryl K. Olson researcher and co-author of “Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do” provides advice on how and why to set limits on video game play time and why you should let your kids teach you a lesson. Watch the video below or watch it on YouTube in a new browser tab or window.