How to tell if your child or teen is addicted to screen time or gaming

Gaming and screen time addiction behaviours can manifest differently in children and teens, but here are some common signs and behaviors to look out for:

  1. Preoccupation with Screens: Children or teens addicted to gaming or excessive screen time may constantly think about screens, eagerly anticipating the next opportunity to play games or engage with digital devices. They may exhibit restlessness or become irritable when unable to access screens.

  2. Loss of Interest in Other Activities: One significant indicator of addiction is a noticeable decline in interest or participation in activities that were once enjoyed, such as sports, hobbies, or social interactions. Screen time takes precedence over other aspects of their lives.

  3. Difficulty Controlling Usage: Children or teens addicted to screens may have difficulty controlling the amount of time spent on gaming or digital devices. They may struggle with adhering to agreed-upon screen-time limits and may feel compelled to continue using screens despite negative consequences.

  4. Neglected Responsibilities: Addiction to gaming and screen time can lead to neglect of academic responsibilities, chores, or personal hygiene. Falling grades, incomplete assignments, and poor performance in other areas of life may be observed.

  5. Withdrawal Symptoms: When access to screens is restricted or taken away, children or teens with addiction tendencies may exhibit withdrawal symptoms similar to those seen in substance-related addictions. These symptoms may include irritability, restlessness, anxiety, and even depression.

  6. Escalation of Usage: Addiction often leads to an escalation in screen time and gaming behavior. Children or teens may require increasing amounts of time to achieve the desired level of satisfaction or stimulation. They may also engage in secretive behavior to hide the extent of their screen time from parents or caregivers.

  7. Interference with Sleep: Excessive screen time, especially close to bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns. Children or teens addicted to screens may experience difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep due to overstimulation from gaming or digital activities.

  8. Social Isolation: Excessive screen time can lead to social isolation. Children or teens may withdraw from social interactions, preferring to spend their time alone with screens rather than engaging with peers or participating in family activities.

It’s important to note that these behaviors alone may not indicate addiction, as occasional and controlled screen time is a part of modern life. However, if these behaviours are persistent, intense, and significantly impact various aspects of a child’s life, it may be a sign of an addiction issue.

If you suspect that a child or teen may be struggling with gaming or screen time addiction, it is advisable to seek professional guidance from healthcare providers, therapists, or counselors who specialize in behavioral addictions or child psychology.

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Supporting Parents: Effective Strategies for Dealing with Children Addicted to Gaming and Screen-Time

Child and teen screen and gaming addiction

In today’s digital age, it’s becoming increasingly common for children to develop addictive behaviours towards gaming and excessive screen-time.

As parents, it can be challenging to navigate this territory and find effective strategies to support our children while ensuring their well-being. In this article, we will explore ways to assist parents dealing with children addicted to gaming and screen-time. We will also delve into the effects of excessive screen-time on children’s physical and mental health.

  1. Understand the Effects of Excessive Screen-Time: Excessive screen-time can have a profound impact on a child’s well-being. Research has shown links between excessive screen use and issues such as:

a) Physical Health: Encourage parents to educate themselves about the physical consequences of excessive screen-time, such as obesity, poor sleep patterns, and sedentary lifestyles. This knowledge will help parents prioritize healthier habits for their children.

b) Mental Health: Excessive screen-time has been associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, attention problems, and social difficulties. Inform parents about these potential risks, empowering them to take action.

  1. Open Communication and Establish Boundaries: a) Set Clear Expectations: Encourage parents to communicate openly with their children about their concerns regarding excessive screen-time. Establish reasonable boundaries and rules regarding when and how much screen-time is allowed. It’s essential to involve children in this conversation to foster their understanding and cooperation.

b) Consistency is Key: Consistency in enforcing screen-time rules is crucial. Encourage parents to lead by example, limiting their own screen-time and engaging in alternative activities with their children. This approach helps create a healthier family environment.

  1. Encourage Alternative Activities:

a) Explore Interests: Encourage parents to help their children discover and pursue new hobbies and interests outside of screens. Whether it’s sports, arts, music, or other activities, engaging in these interests can provide healthy alternatives to screen-time.

b) Foster Social Connections: Help parents understand the importance of face-to-face social interactions for their child’s development. Encourage them to arrange playdates, family outings, and opportunities for their child to connect with others in meaningful ways.

  1. Utilize Parental Controls and Monitoring:

a) Implement Technology Solutions: Inform parents about the availability of parental control features and apps that can help manage and monitor their child’s screen-time. These tools can assist in setting time limits, filtering content, and promoting healthy technology use.

b) Create Tech-Free Zones and Times: Suggest that parents establish specific areas or times in the house where screens are not allowed. This can be during meal times, in bedrooms, or during family activities. Creating these designated screen-free zones helps children develop a healthier relationship with technology.

Conclusion: Helping parents navigate the challenges of managing children addicted to gaming and screen-time requires a balanced approach that combines understanding, open communication, and practical strategies. By empowering parents with effective techniques and knowledge about the impact of excessive screen-time, we can support them in guiding their children towards healthier habits and a well-rounded upbringing.

Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Encourage parents to remain patient, seek professional advice if needed, and provide ongoing support as they navigate this journey. Together, we can help children find a healthy balance in their relationship with technology and foster their overall well-being.

Do you have any other questions or topics you’d like us to explore further? Reach out or book a counselling parenting support session.

References:

Not sure if addiction is the issue. Check out our post on behaviours that point towards gaming or screen addiction.

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10 signs of birth trauma in babies and children

birth trauma unsettled baby

As parents, we want nothing more than to protect our children from harm and ensure that they grow up happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. However, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, and our children may experience trauma that can have a lasting impact on their emotional and physical well-being.

One type of trauma that can affect babies and children is birth trauma, which refers to any physical or emotional harm that occurs during the birth process. If your child has experienced a traumatic birth, it’s important to recognize the signs and seek help to address any issues that may arise. Here are ten signs of birth trauma to look out for:

    1. Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
    2. Difficulty breastfeeding or feeding in general
    3. Reflux or colic-like symptoms
    4. Extreme fussiness or irritability
    5. Excessive crying or inability to be comforted
    6. Hypersensitivity to touch or movement
    7. Muscle tension or stiffness
    8. Difficulty regulating body temperature or breathing patterns
    9. Delayed developmental milestones
    10. Reduced social interaction or increased withdrawal

Birth trauma can be caused by any event before or during birthing such as the umbilical cord being caught around the babies neck causing difficulty breathing, baby being stuck and requiring forceps delivery or c section, baby requiring emergency procedures before or after birth, and other events that can cause shock, or trauma in the birthing process.  Somatic therapy and counselling can help babies with birth trauma by addressing their physical symptoms, helping to regulate their nervous system, help them complete stuck processes, and providing a safe and nurturing environment for healing, parental support and recovery. Mums can suffer from birth trauma to. Seek support from an experienced trauma therapist if you think you might have experienced a traumatic birth. This can include miscarriage, still birth, c sections or emergency procedures.

Mom female hands teach the infant baby toddler to push

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