All forms of persuasive media, whether they involve inviting images, bright colors or brash sounds, can have an effect on the mind of a child, and can even cause them to copy the behaviors they see. When the media that a child encounters every day becomes associated with happiness, entertainment, excitement and thrills, the child is bound to associate these media with instant gratification and an increased sense of self. Therefore, if a child is forced into quitting or temporarily cutting their connection to a particular form of media, it can often lead to resistance, unhappiness and severe frustration that might lead to aggression and violence.
When it comes to listing media or devices that children have easy access to, near the top of every list is games. Gaming addictions are not normally caused by a single influence. They are caused by a combination of factors, including:
Children with gaming addictions tend to come from families with parents who have a lot of responsibilities and busy lifestyles, meaning they don’t give sufficient time and attention to their child. This results in the child lacking discipline and respect for rules and authority. When these parents do find the time to spend with their child, they often give in to the child’s demands as compensation for not spending much time with them. Parents may not be strict enough when issuing consequences for their child’s misbehaviour. And some families lack any form of quality time such as taking part in shared activities. All of this can result in a child feeling lonely or bored. Children often turn to other activities, such as games, for happiness and to forget about their situation.
Today’s consumer society has resulted in children turning to devices for entertainment and excitement. These days there is a shortage of child-friendly spaces where young people can lose themselves in safe and engaging activities or relieve stress that may have built up in school and throughout the day. This is yet another reason why children are turning to games in greater numbers than ever before.
Some children are at an increased risk of developing a gaming addiction, including children with ADHD, children with emotional disorders, children with depression and children experiencing issues at school.
Parents who have been unsuccessful, despite trying everything mentioned above, may find it necessary to bring their child to a psychiatrist to determine if they are suffering from mental illness or emotional disorder. A psychiatrist will be able to properly diagnose the child, and make effective and appropriate plans regarding any subsequent treatment that may be necessary.
M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kean University, 1995