Video Game Addiction
September 8, 2012
Well the first week back to cyber-school has started, with a few minor glitches on both the home and cyber-school side. While last week, my middle child returned to 10th grade in her "brick and mortar" high school, my oldest and youngest got to sleep in and hang out in their jammies all day playing video games and eating potato chips. Well, it was more like sleeping most of the day and playing video games for the remainder of the day. As always my DD2 brought drama home with her from the public school, so last week's thoughts focused on her trials and tribulations. But this week, the drama was much less, on all fronts. We are getting back in the swing of being a normal family with kids getting up and off to school and parents getting up and off to work.
Hi ho, hi ho. Its off to work we go...
And what a great week it actually was. Monday was Labor Day and we had planned to go to Gettysburg as a family and have a picnic on the battlefield. But the forcast called for rain, so we didn't go. And DD1 and DH had gone to the KISS and Motley Crue concert in Pittsburgh the night before, so didn't get home until 4 AM, so needless to say, there were some people sleeping in on Monday. It was a good day just to chill out and finish laundry and just have a day off. Then on Tuesday, DD1 and DS went back to school. DD1 is a senior and we are anticipating her graduation from High School in January, as she had to make up some extra credits she lost in 9th grade when she switched from high school to cyber school then back to high school (long story). DS is going into 7th grade this year, and vowed to do better with focusing and doing his assignments this year. He is the type of kid that is smart, but needs that extra push.....constantly. His main joy in life is playing video games. Like I said earlier, he is smart, and sneaky too. He has been known to wait until everyone is asleep in the house and then sneak to the TV, turn on the PlayStation and turn the volume down on the TV so no one can hear him. So, Tuesday he got up and was ready for school bright and early. Wednesday too. But on Thursday, he started to waiver and stayed up late the night before. He was lucky because on Thursday, the cyber school was having technical issues, and they are doing the first week orientation, which is not anything he really needs to attend and focus on. Friday morning I could not get him up to go to school. I leave for work at 8:15 and his first live session was at 9, DH works from home most of the week, so I told him to let DS sleep until it was time for class. DH gave him a 5 minute warning and our sneaky DS moved to the other end of the couch and went back to sleep. He ended up being "30 minutes late for class" according to my husband. DS said that it was actually "21 mintues late." Talk about splitting hairs! You were late, my son!
We need to break DS of his insomnia and video game addiction. I have tried hiding the remote controls. I have tried locking up the video games. I have tried giving him Melatonin tablets so that he would fall asleep. Nothing works!
By the way, Melatonin tablets do not work on him. When he was a preschooler, he had some oral procedure done and the dentist gave him laughing gas. Instead of sedating him, it made him antsy. The dentist said that he was part of the 10% of the population that laughing gas gives the opposite effect to. My kids are weird. Even Benadryl has the opposite effect on them, making them hyper instead of sleepy. So I thought maybe the pills were ineffective (definitely for him) so I took them and they made me feel like I was drunk. It's an odd feeling. I've never been drunk or high, so I am assuming this is how it might feel. I don't like the feeling at all. I feel all heavy and dizzy, and then I feel nauseous. It makes my head spin. Then my restless leg syndrome kicks into action and it makes me feel even worse. My legs are tired and heavy, but can't stop moving and they hurt. It is not a good feeling. I thought it all may be a fluke, so I took the pill again another night and I had the same results. And I have a hard time moving in the morning after taking the pills. Give me a Tylenol PM instead!
So back to the consequences, starting Sunday night, we are taking the actual PlayStation out to the car and I will take it to work with me. This way when he wakes up in the middle of the night he won't be able to video game and he will actually sleep. He won't want to walk all the way out to our car at night because we park on the street. Then during the school day, it won't be available as a distraction for him to play between classes. Then when I arrive home at 4 PM, I will check to see if his work is completed and if it is and he has no questions or problems, I may allow him to play for an hour after school. I am hoping the plan works and that DH actually assists me and follows through. I want the best education for my children, and I know his addiction is so severe that the withdrawal will make him miserable, but he needs to learn the routine and structure of being a home school-er again, especially after a long summer spent playing video games.
Signs that your child may be addicted to video games
1. Irregular sleep patterns- the constant stimulation may make it hard for your child's brain to shut down and decompress from the day.
2. Irritability- does your child get angry when playing video games too long? If so the mood instability again may be from the constant stimulation your brain and other senses receive from video games. Those pesky hormones and adrenaline can cause both the sleep and mood.
3. Headaches- again, having to focus your eyes on the screen may cause people to have headaches.
4. Eating too much or too little- depending on the person, they may choose to veg out in front of the TV with a bag of chips or cookies and ice cream and participate in mindless eating, causing the child to gain weight. Yes, being sedentary causes people to gain weight, but all the mindless eating does too. Your child may also forego eating regular meals in order to keep playing the game and in doing so, not take in enough valuable nutrients.
5. Seizures or other health issues-some children have small seizures when playing video games. It depends on the type of game and the person. I personally have had nausea and dizziness when sitting in the living room watching the kids play Super Mario type games. The colors, lights, movement and sound of the game cause me to get an immediate headache, accompanied by nausea and dizziness.
6. Failure to want to participate in real world activities- would your child rather sit at home than go to his/her favorite restaurant for dinner?
7. Lack of real friends- does your child prefer his online friends rather than the companionship of a living, breathing person? Does your child have friends over and they sit in front of the TV watching/playing video games and not talking to each other at all?
The list could go on and on. People can be addicted to more than video games. People who cannot put down their iPhone, iPad, iPod, cell phone, laptop or any other electronic device may have an addiction problem Remember people, you can be addicted to more that food, drugs or alcohol. Video game/Computer/Electronics addiction is real!