A modern-day psychological disorder, video game addiction is on the rise all over the globe, and although some medical professionals are lobbying to have it labeled as a mental disorder, the American Psychiatric Association declined to do so. It is a condition characterized by excessive game playing that’s detrimental to an individual’s everyday life, meaning things like socializing, sleeping, and even eating, are out of whack.
Why are teens on the spectrum more susceptible?
According to a number of research studies, teens with autism, in addition to spending more time playing video games, are more likely to develop a video game addiction for a number of reasons specific to the disorder they have. Predictability, no need for social face-to-face interaction, and visual engagement are all characteristics of video games that make autistic kids spend more time glued to their screens. Video games also provide autistic teens with repetition, consistency, and security. However, playing video games is also known to bring some positive things, like building up self-esteem by mastering the game.
What to do if your teen is addicted to video games
If you think your teen may suffer from video game addiction, resolving it may prove difficult, but as with anything, consistency is key. Some of the things you can do to help him break the habit, include:
- Encourage your teen to get involved in a support group where not only will he meet other teens with the same problem, but possibly other autistic teens battling with the same issue. It will also be a safe place to discuss his feelings.
- Regular therapy sessions may prove helpful for your teen in learning new and improving upon existing social skills.
- A good night’s sleep and a healthy diet are of the utmost importance. Healthy, balanced meals, going to bed at the same time, and waking up at the same time every day will aid your teen tremendously by providing him stability and predictability.
- If reasoning and negotiation don’t work, you will need to take the computer out of his bedroom and limit his access to video games on other devices. This action will most likely be met with resistance, but do not step back.
Seven Stars is here for your family
Seven Stars is a program that combines residential treatment with adventure therapy to create a multifaceted, effective program for adolescents, ages 13 to 18, struggling with emotional and behavioral issues as a result of their neurodevelopmental disorder.
We embed the objectives we have for each student into daily activities and teach emotional wellness skills such as conflict resolution, problem-solving, social skills, academic skills, self-efficacy, and prosocial behaviors. At Seven Stars, we strive to help our students develop the skills necessary to live full, productive lives.
For more information about how Seven Stars can help your teen with video game addiction, contact us today at 844-601-1167.
Since 2003, Dr. Gordon Day has passionately helped young people with a wide range of family, emotional, social, neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems. Gordon’s mission has been to help people find their strengths and their own passion for living a full and rewarding life. He is particularly sensitive to the pressures, frustrations and disappointments that adolescents face that can sometimes cause them and their loved ones to want to withdraw and throw their hands up in despair.
Dr. Day knows that you really have to understand where a student is coming from and understand their patterns of strengths and needs. When we truly know an individual and their struggles, only then can we truly help.
Dr. Day has pioneered the use of outdoor therapy activities and outdoor living as a dynamic and effective therapeutic tool for learning, confidence building and skill building. His programs provide effective, supportive and encouraging environments that help students find their strengths and power.