How to establish video game boundaries with your kids

Preventing a video game addiction in kids
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 10:57 AM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - The American Psychological Association estimated nearly 97 percent of kids play video games regularly.

Experts said video games could be useful tool, but the question remained of how much would be too much at the screen.

Parents of small children along with middle schoolers and teens are concerned about excessive video game play.

Pediatric Psychologist at Connecticut Children’s, Dr. Preeti Sandhu, said, “the work kind of starts at home with the parents.”

Doctor Sandhu explained to parents that they should establish video game boundaries.

“The earlier you can start the better just kind of recognizing technology is not a right it’s a privilege,” said Dr. Sandhu.

Doctor Sandhu recommends establishing that video games should be a reward for good behavior like chores and studying.

“If our kids are asking for independence especially our teens, we have to show them how to actually earn that,” Dr. Sandhu said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Screen Time Guidelines says kids should have no more than an hour per day for children between 2 and 5 and set older kids to an absolute max of two hours per day.

A sign your child could be addicted is if gaming interferes with life functions like eating and sleeping.

Dr. Sanhu recommends banning video games from bedrooms and insisting no screens allowed during family activities.

“Tt the end of the day, take that moment to reflect about technology that this is how I want it in the household; this is what I want to teach,” said Dr. Sandhu. 31:09

Annie Goldsnider, gaming specialist at Connecticut Children’s, extoled the virtues of video games.

She said gaming develops important skills like problem solving and resilience and even helps with the healing process!

“I’ve seen kiddos’ demeanor entirely changed because they’ve been able to connect with a kiddo from home while they’re a little bit isolated in the hospital,” said Goldsnider.

Goldsnider told parents to make sure kids are gaming responsibly.

Parents should research every video game your child plays and utilize parental locks to limit how much time played and interactions with other gamers.

“Do your due diligence when you’re trying to pick the right games for your child to play,” said Goldsnider. “Those settings exist you just have to look for them.”

Moms like Sarah in Ellington and dads like Matt in Terryville want to ensure a fun activity is balanced throughout the day.

“I tend to actually play the games with them as much as I can just so I can understand how they work,” Matt said.

Even the young gamers we spoke with like Matt’s son Cameron, admitted that even though they don’t like the restrictions they’re probably for the best!