Hudson Valley Parent

HVP July 2019

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12 Hudson Valley Parent n July 2019 A series answering parents' toughest questions when raising a teen Keep the conversation going. See the complete article and get tips to help raise your teens at Dr. Paul Schwartz Professor of psychology and education Jill Valentino Mother of two from Pine Bush Kids' addiction to video games increases their depression and anxiety levels. Addicted kids also exhibit social phobias. Not surprisingly, kids addicted to video games see their school performance suffer. Too much gaming makes your kid socially isolated. Also, he may devote less time to other activities such as homework, sports, and interacting with family and friends. My advice to parents would be this: If your adolescent has issues with aggression, games might provide the "tipping point." Monitor your kids' activities and keep track of what they are playing and for how long. An element of compulsivity might be an indication that your teen requires your attention or the attention of a professional. Approximately 88% of American children play video games. Yet many of their parents grew up in a pre-internet world. Having no frame of reference to base our rules upon, it can be tough to decide what they should be. Currently, my daughters do not have set limits on screen time. I prefer they learn to self-regulate. However, their usage is closely monitored and if I feel they are spending too much time on devices, warnings are given. If nothing changes, their devices get locked away. If you suspect your child has a gaming addiction, there are some ways you can help. First, stay off your device when you are around them. If you unplug, it shows your teen that they can do the same thing and be okay. Also, enroll your child in things that keep them busy, active and engaged. How can parents help gaming-addicted teens? How much time does your child spend on electronics and do you regulate that time? "My son loves playing on his Xbox with his friends. But he is outside all the time playing foot- ball and baseball." — Melissa S. "We use an app called OurPact to regulate our kids' electronics. It lets us give them a certain amount of screen time per day and lets us turn certain apps on and off." — Marci S. "Unless it's raining, we spend most nights at the playground or sports practice. He has limits set on his devices, but we rarely reach them." — Stephanie L. "I try to keep it to a minimum, but somehow he tends to sneak it for longer. I actually took video games away for about three years or so because of outbursts about them." — Nicole N. "If they can't go outside, then they get to play online. Video games can be fun, it's just about balancing them with other ways of playing." — Liz W. HVP Chatroom

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