How Do I Know If My Son Is Addicted to Gaming?

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

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Show notes:

In this episode:

How Do I Know If My Son Is Addicted to Gaming?

Why Smacking is Wrong.

How To Stay Sane While Home Schooling

Listen to the Expert Interview


Connect with Aniesa






Sue talks to Andrew Easton on BBC Radio :


Read Sue’s Article on Why Smacking Should be Banned

Don’t Stew, Ask Sue

Sue’s Answer:

If you suspect that your child (or someone else) is addicted to video games, here’s some ideas to help:

First, gaming addiction isn’t reliant on a certain kind of system or even a certain amount of time. An hour a day on a smartphone, tablet, console, or computer is more than enough to have a full-fledged addiction.

Second, your child may be able to play video games for hours at a time without becoming addicted. I have a number of clients who are this way; they can take it or leave it. Video game addicts, on the other hand, aren’t the same. Gaming consumes them.

No matter where they are or who they’re talking to, thoughts about the game pop into their mind:

“When can I play again?”

“Maybe if I try this strategy when I’m gaming again, I can do better.”

“If I leave now, I can have another hour to game.”

The ecstasy they feel from gaming means everything else in life is simply less joyful.

Being addicted to video games isn’t reserved for shy or withdrawn people. This addiction can happen to anyone.

Studies are beginning to show that excessive gaming (approximately 3 hours per week) by youths is linked with increased levels of depression, anxiety, and social phobia, all of which can last years into the future.

For some kids it can come down to self-worth. When they beat someone else in StarCraft, Tribes, Age of Empires II, or any of the other games, they receive an instant injection of self-worth. “Wow, I really am pretty good at something.”

It may not make complete sense to us, but that is a powerful, powerful message, especially for kids who have a strong fear of failure.

Your child might be addicted to video games if they exhibit the following signs:

  • Talk about their game(s) incessantly.
  • Play for hours on end (I played for up to 14 hours a day when possible)
  • Get defensive when told about their excessive gaming habit
  • Get angry or explosive when made to stop.
  • Sacrifice basic needs (e.g., sleep) in order to game.
  • Hide or downplay time spent gaming.
  • Seem preoccupied, depressed, or lonely

If you’ve determined that your child likely has an addiction, there are a number of ways you can help. You can educate yourself at sites like

and On-Line Gamers Anonymous

Once you have reviewed treatment options, such as therapists, you then have to take the bold step of actually intervening.

As a final thought, I’d like to say that not all games are bad and not everyone is prone to addiction.

The good news is that your child can break the addiction but do seek professional help.

Sue Speaks at:

Blub World Global Education Meet’ India’s Biggest Education Round Table – I spoke about moving the significant focus on ‘recovering’ our existing education system to something else as I believe there is also an opportunity to ‘build back better’.

Research has identified three areas where the pandemic has the potential to open up new conversations about the future of schooling in England. So, I spoke about the conversations that need to happen:

    • a conversation about how our education system can prepare children for life, not just exams.
    • a conversation about where and how learning takes place – as well as who is involved in it.
    • a conversation about the need to tackle inequalities outside, as well as inside, the classroom.

HomeSchooling/ HomeLearning

What to say when kids ask: Why can’t I go to school

Read Sue’s Article Here  ?[ec_link text=”Why Cant I Go to School by Sue Atkins” background_color=”#13e004″][/ec_link]

Here are some ways to help!

How Do I Cope With School Closures and Homeschooling?

3 types of stress

Positive stress is being challenged and pushed mildly out of your comfort zone, which leads to growth and development. That could be taking a difficult test or forming a new relationship with a safe, unfamiliar person.

Tolerable stress is when bad stuff happens, but it happens in the presence of a buffering, supportive relationship, like the one a child has with a parent.

Toxic stress is severe in its strength and chronic in its duration and happens without that buffering relationship. That’s the kind of stress that can damage development.

Experts say that unless a child is experiencing toxic stress, they probably will recover well and may build resiliency that will serve them in the long run.

Go to NSPCC website for some help and ideas




Sign up to my Alternatives to Smacking Resources


Check out my Book Club new authors and interviews being added every week


Linda BeckettWhat’s Wrong, Arty? A gentle way of discussing everyday worries with your child.

Lauren BruknerThe Kids’ Guide to Staying Awesome and in Control.  Simple Stuff to Help Children Regulate Their Emotions and Senses

Ronnie and Catrina Park – Taste n Tell – A unique way for children to sample a wide range of new healthy foods.

Aniesa BloreParenting the Conundrum Child: The CAN do approach to uncovering their unique abilities. If you’re a SEN parent that feels a bit lost and a bit alone as you wade through the treacle that is our SEN education system, buy this.


Don’t Stew – Ask Sue Parenting Q & A

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