What To Do If Your Child is Addicted to Gaming

By Greg Baer M.D.

January 5, 2023

Are you constantly asking yourself:

  • When my kid plays video games, is he living in another world?
  • Has the video controller become part of his hand?
  • When I speak, does she become deaf?
  • Why am I constantly nagging about chores, homework, and being on time?
  • Why do I feel like I’m losing him?

The average child plays video games 3-4 hours PER DAY, which is about 60% of their free time after school, sleeping, and eating. And the rest of their free time often goes to phones.

THIS explains the steady decrease in childhood education, with some school districts demonstrating a 95% rate of student failure to meet MINIMUM competency requirements.

You’ve tried to get them to pay attention to the things in life that matter. You’ve talked, lectured, yelled. But your child is still glued to a game, missing out on life. You feel stuck.

What should you know, and what can you do? Playing games is not a genetic instinct or need. Children use games only because they’re missing what they really want, and I will teach you what that is, why they’re not getting it, and how you can give it to them.

When you learn all that, they won’t NEED their video games, and your entire relationship with them will change. They’ll be happy, cooperative, and responsible. Imagine that.

Is My Child Addicted to Gaming?

Ask yourself these questions. When my child is gaming:

  • Do I get his attention when I call his name just once?
  • Are his chores around the house and homework done before he games?
  • Is he regularly interacting and genuinely connecting with you and other family members spontaneously?
  • Does he argue with you when you say that it’s time to stop?
  • Can you hear roars of disappointment and anger when something goes wrong for him in the game?

If the answer is “No” to the first three and “Yes” to the last two, it’s a virtual certainty that your child IS addicted to gaming. This is not a small matter.

Can a Child Be Addicted to Video Games?

Oh, Yes.

Studies have proven beyond doubt that when a child is playing video games, the same part of the brain lights up as when addicts are using cocaine.

That, and the answers to the questions above, PROVE that children can be addicted to video games.

Addiction is defined as the use of any substance or behavior that is interfering with social behavior and cannot easily be quit entirely. That’s your child:

  • Completely distracted while gaming and doesn’t interact with others
  • Does NOT stop quickly and easily when told to stop or to do something else (dinner, homework, whatever)

That’s addiction, and yes, children show varying degrees of addiction. Some children actually refuse to go to school and play video games for 18 hours a day.

A Child Addicted to Gaming

A child addicted to gaming isn’t just having a problem. He or she is in crisis, just as a cocaine addict is.

Addictions easily overwhelm a child entirely and make them miss out on developing relationships and learning skills that are absolutely essential to success and happiness.

If a child misses out on simple algebra in school, they WILL fail at geometry and trigonometry later on in math. Similarly, if a game-addicted child misses out on emotional development at a young age, they are almost certain to be impaired as adults. 

What do you need to know, and what can you do? Did you know that kids naturally WANT to be responsible, loving, connected, and happy?

The primary reason they fail—the reason they use video games addictively—is that they’re missing one thing, and I will teach you what that is and how you can give it to them.

When you really learn all that, they’ll NATURALLY stop using games as an emotional crutch. Often they quit gaming entirely.

Oh, and they’ll be happy, cooperative, and responsible—and your relationship with them will become far better. Imagine that.

Why Is My Child Addicted to Gaming?

Many studies have proven that what every child needs most is . . . wait for it . . . LOVE. But not just any kind of love will do. This love must be unconditional, which means free of disappointment or irritation. To a child, this feeling is as essential as food or air.

And THIS is the problem that we’re not seeing. THIS is why our children are addicted to games, having problems in school, and more. They are not getting the unconditional love, or Real Love®, from US that they MUST have in order to be happy. They use addictions to relieve their pain. Period.

Expecting a child without sufficient Real Love to avoid addictive behaviors is like expecting them not to jerk away violently when they accidentally bump into a hot stove.

Right now you’re thinking, “But I DO love my children.” Yes, we do love them as well as we can, but we were not loved unconditionally ourselves, nor did anyone teach us how to give it.

This Real Love is completely without disappointment or irritation. It is intentional, personal, and consistent.

Children without sufficient Real Love® are in pain, so they use video games—or phones or whatever—to relieve their pain. They must do something for pain relief.

Your child does not have a “video game problem.” Your child is starving and in pain. Yes, a crazy-new notion, but this is the beginning of a solution that consistently works.

Take the first step right now. Say out loud these words: “My child is addicted to video games, and despite my best efforts, we’re not succeeding, so there MUST be something I need to learn before I can help my child.”

There, you’ve begun. And now we’ll learn even more about what you can do.

How to Help a Child Addicted to Video Games

You have already learned that the usual solutions for video game use—nagging, rules about limiting time, and more—don’t work well, nor do they work for long.

Learn how to find the Real Love® your child needs more than anything. Learn how to give it to your child in a consistent and reliable way. Learn what happens when your child is happy and free from pain.

Watch your child’s addiction disappear naturally—along with improvements in school performance, chores, and relationships—without pushing, nagging, and controlling.

Watch your child turn to you more for affection. Allow the tears to fall as you see your child feel loved and even become more loving to his siblings.

When a child is not in pain, they become who they were meant to be.

The become their true selves: 

  • Curious 
  • Creative 
  • Cooperative 
  • Involved 
  • Connected. 

They become more responsible in ways you can’t imagine until you see it happen. 

How could you want more for your children than that?

There is help.

You CAN eliminate your child's video game addiction.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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