Identifying problem gaming

Gamers who play frequently for extended periods of time at the expense of other social activities and become restless or irritable when offline, are showing signs of obsessive gaming.

The video below produced by 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 a great overview of video and internet gaming for parents. You can watch the video on this page or view it on YouTube in a new browser tab or window.

Obsessive gaming checklist for parents

  1. Spending more and more time preoccupied with their favourite video game, thinking about it all the time or hanging out for the next opportunity to play
  2. Spending less time on homework, work, sports, and social activities with family and friends in order to game more; not doing household chores, eating properly or showering to keep playing
  3. Disobeying the time limits set
  4. Lying or hiding their game play – e.g. saying they are doing homework when they are really playing; getting up after everyone has gone to bed in order to play and staying up all night, not sleeping
  5. Disinterested in other activities
  6. Playing to escape from problems or negative feelings
  7. Unable to quit or limit game play
  8. Spending more money than they can afford on equipment or items associated with the game
  9. Continuing to play despite the negative consequences to themselves and their relationships.