Is your child obsessed with video games? Here’s how it can affect young brains

Is your child obsessed with video games? Here’s how it can affect young brains

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Youngsters and video games are almost inseparable these days. With the decreasing number of open spaces around us for outdoor games, youngsters of this generation prefer to stay indoors and play video games. While some video games are constructed in a way that they can help in improving cognitive development and memory, too much of anything can be unhealthy. Gaming addiction in young children is real and is very harmful. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Sheetal Goyal, Neurologist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai Central shared a few things we need to remember to understand how gaming addiction works and how we can help children find their way out of it.

Understanding addiction:

The first step is understanding and being aware of gaming addiction. We need to explain to children that when they prioritise gaming over other important activities such as studying and self-grooming, it can have negative consequences.

Effect on brain development:

Gaming addiction can affect cognitive functions, emotional regulation, and impulse control. Too much time spent on video games can lead to loss of social contact and social cognition for young children.

Impact on mental and physical health:

Gaming addiction can lead to neglecting responsibilities, withdrawal symptoms when not gaming, and a loss of interest in other activities. This can further jeopardise overall mental and physical development.

Possible risk factors:

The possible risk factors include prolonged screen time, lack of parental oversight, social isolation, and underlying mental health issues that can contribute to gaming addiction.

Healthy habits to combat gaming addiction:

Parents can can prevent such addiction by nurturing healthy habits such as encouraging balanced screen time limits, promoting diverse activities, and fostering open communication between parents and children about gaming habits.

Seeking professional help:

It is important to seek help when such an addiction is witnessed in young children. Professional help, such as counseling services specialising in gaming addiction or mental health clinics can help.

Monitoring gaming habits:

In case of gaming addiction, it is advised for parents to step up and monitor gaming habits, set boundaries, and become more aware of changes in behavior that may indicate a problem.

Destigmatising the Issue:

It is necessary to encourage open discussions to reduce stigma around gaming addiction, emphasising that it can affect anyone and prompt early intervention for better outcomes.

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