My 33 yr old son plays video games and watches cartoons, all the time. He doesn’t have much of a social life or girlfriend. I’d like to help him. I’m not sure where to start? Jesse
Thank you for your question. The best aspect of this situation is that you care so much about your son to ask this question. One of the most powerful protective factors in a child’s life is to have a parent who cares and wants to help them.
If your son decides he wants to stop playing video games, here are some steps that may be able to assist him with:
• Help him set specific goals for why he wants to stop playing video games and make a plan for reaching those goals.
• Create a schedule with him and prioritize activities that do not involve video games.
• Assist him to find alternative activities to do instead of playing video games, such as exercising, reading, or spending time with friends and family.
• Help him limit his access to video games, encourage him to either remove them from his devices or help him set limits on when and how often he plays.
• Help him seek support from friends, family, or a therapist, who can help him stay accountable and overcome any challenges that may arise.
• Make a list of triggers with him and help him avoid triggers that make him want to play video games, such as boredom or stress.
• Plan rewards for not playing video games, such as treating himself to something he enjoys i.e., a favourite food or activity.
It’s important to remember video games in and of themselves are not inherently bad. Like any form of entertainment, they can be enjoyed in moderation and have some benefits, such as:
• Improving hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and cognitive skills.
• Providing a means of stress relief and relaxation.
• Offering a social outlet for connecting with others and building relationships.
However, excessive gaming can lead to negative effects, such as:
• Decreased physical activity and potential weight gain.
• Impairment of sleep and other daily routines.
• Strained relationships with friends and family.
• Decreased school or work performance.
It is important to balance gaming with other activities and to maintain healthy habits and relationships. If gaming is affecting your son’s ability to function in the world or his well-being, it may be helpful to suggest he seek support from a mental health professional.