Is your child overusing technology? Playing too many video games?
It can be hard to determine if you have a potential problem on your hands. Or maybe it isn’t really that hard at all.
After three years of working with families, I have discovered one simple quick assessment that seems to help moms and kids get perspective on their child’s gaming balance. This observation is based on Mom Science and may or may not be able to be proven in a fancy lab, but it has been proven many times in the “home labs” of many moms.
Can your son name three things he likes as well or better than gaming? I mean three other things that he is as happy with or happier. Mom, you know your son better than anyone and you know in your gut what he loves.
If gaming is balanced, he should be able to be equally happy with other activities. If it is not balanced, then gaming will rise to the top of his favorite activity list above all others. It will become his default go-to activity when he is tired, bored, lonely or depressed, as well as when he is in a great mood and has some energy to burn.
The second question to this assessment is: What does he reach for when he needs down time? Will a good book work? How about shooting hoops in the driveway? Will he draw, read, head out back to his fort, ride his bike or call friends over?
The third question is: Mom, what do you immediately think of when you think of getting a gift for your son? Do you head to Game Stop for the latest video game or to the sporting good store for some new baseball equipment or a new basketball? What is on his Christmas list? Be honest.
Four quarters equal a whole. If he is 25% interested in games he is probably fine. If he chooses gaming 50% or more of the time, you may be headed for some conflict.
Is it really that simple?
Well, from a mom’s perspective, it kinda is.
For a more detailed list of addiction signs, click here.