One thing that gaming overuse allowed in our house was what I call gaming disobedience. This is when you call your child for dinner and you get the famous “Just one more level mom” response. Or there is the moody temper episodes over undone homework and undone chores because the game is more important than other life responsibilities in their minds. Tolerating gaming arguments, bargaining for more time and allowing gaming disobedience are all signs of gaming overuse and it is exhausting. Why did I allow this? I feel that it was a combination of not being aware of how the game was taking control of our time and talents and how it was slowly forming and shaping the way I parented and the way my kids responded to me. I certainly didn’t understand then that gaming stimulates the limbic system (pleasure/reward center) in the brain while it shuts down the frontal cortex (decision “to come to dinner” center). This underdeveloped ‘impulse-control-judgement-formation” center is further compromised and essentially hijacked when they are plugged in. Do they really even hear what you are saying? I’m not sure but I do know that these habits become a part of who they become later in life. Why do we think that the game is that important? Why do we argue with the game? Why do we give it so much power? I will never let the game take that much control again. Remember mom and dad, you are the parents and expecting your child to come to dinner the first time you call is not too much to ask! For more on the brain and signs of overuse go here. To read more about kid’s brains and video games go here.
Author: Melanie Hempe
Melanie is the Founder of ScreenStrong. If you need help reducing the screen conflicts in your home, please reach out to us; we can help. We have tips and solutions for fixing screen problems and reclaiming childhood.