The game, as psychologists say, is the main activity of the child. But what if instead of hide-and-seek, playing mother-daughter games and Cossack robbers, your child “cuts” exclusively into computer “walkers” and “shooters”?
Our expert – psychiatrist, psychotherapist at the University Clinical Hospital No. I. M. Sechenova, Candidate of Medical Sciences Inna Parkhomenko.
While playing, children develop physically and intellectually. However, the game is different. Ophthalmologists have been trumpeting about the negative impact of a computer, tablet (and even more so a smartphone) on vision for a long time. But gadgets harm not only the eyes, but the whole body.
Children for whom the telephone has “replaced nature” suffer from hypodynamia and hypoxia. But the main targets are the nervous system and the brain. Recently, doctors have even begun to talk about digital dementia.
Recently, the World Health Organization has included gambling in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as one of the mental disorders. Gambling addiction, or gambling addiction (from the Latin ludo, “I play”), is characterized by uncontrolled psychological addiction.
Of course, there are benefits from computer games: they help relieve internal stress, improve coordination, memory, and reaction. The main thing is that the game does not turn from an “hour of fun” into a basic vital need. Too much enthusiasm for virtual reality, especially in childhood and adolescence, can form an antisocial and aggressive personality with an unstable psyche.
When to ring the bells
According to statistics, only 0.2% of all gamers become addicted. To make a diagnosis of gambling addiction, the patient needs to be observed for a year. But if there are suspicions, it is better to look closely to see if the person has warning symptoms.
Lack of control in the game. If a child sacrifices study, food and sleep in the name of the game, one must ring the bells.
Indifference to everything that is not related to the game. If the game becomes the only topic of conversation, this is very bad. The disappearance of friends is also a dangerous bell.
There is a pronounced withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawal syndrome is characteristic of any addiction. In this case, the child becomes himself only at the computer. When playing, he is in a great mood, full of vigor and strength. After all, during a tense game, he releases hormones of pleasure in large quantities – endorphins. Without the game, he is irritated, aggressive or apathetic, complains of a headache, poor sleep, and so on.
There were health problems. When playing, the body experiences severe stress and nervous overstrain, therefore it is quickly depleted. Because of this, gamers often begin to suffer from nightmares, insomnia, hypertension, their activity of the cardiovascular system is disrupted, and there is a tendency to depression and psychosis.
Who is guilty?
Pathological addiction to the game is obsessed, as a rule, not at all by aggressive personalities, but by quiet people, people with low self-esteem, dissatisfied with their lives, suffering from the fact that they are not understood and accepted neither in the team, nor even at home. Often, children from those families where there is visible prosperity, but there is absolutely no communication inside, become gamers. Parents are only concerned that the child be dressed, shod, fed, and what is going on in his soul and heart, they have no idea.
What to do?
It is useless to resort to suggestion, educational conversations, threats, blackmail, when it has already come to the formation of gambling addiction. The standard therapy for this disease has not yet been developed, but since gambling addiction is in many ways similar to drug addiction, the treatment methods are similar – isolation from the computer, psychotherapy, hypnosis, antipsychotics. In extreme cases, resort to hospitalization.
But a lot also depends on the family. First of all, it is important to return the joys of the real world to a person who has fallen into a virtual quagmire. It’s easier with kids. They can be taken to the theater, circus, attractions, taken to a holiday home, taken on a fishing trip, enrolled in a section, a circle. Teenagers are more difficult. You will have to carefully listen to their problems, help to establish lost contact both within the family and with others.
40 minutes is enough!
Children’s eye surgeon, refractive surgeon, pediatric ophthalmologist, President of the Association of Strabismus Ophthalmologists, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor Igor Aznauryan:
— Electronic devices are the main cause of many eye diseases. And the point is not at all in “irradiation” (radiation from household appliances meets sanitary standards), but in the size of the screen and font: the smaller it is, the more the child strains his eyes. Therefore, it is important to teach children how to use gadgets correctly.
Make sure that the child does not spend more than 40 minutes a day on a computer or smartphone. Choose devices with a large screen, set a large font.
It is better not to give tablets and phones to children under 7 years old. The muscle that provides normal vision is finally formed only by 7-8 years. Earlier eye strain can lead to vision problems, especially if there are close relatives with eye pathologies in the family.
Do not allow your child to read or watch anything on a tablet or smartphone while in a room with the lights off. Also, you can not read lying down or in transport.
Control the time spent in front of the TV: for children under 7 years old – 30-40 minutes, for older children – 1.5-3 hours a day (continuous visual load should not exceed 1.5 hours).
Teach your child to keep a tablet, smartphone (as well as a book or notebook) at a distance of 35-40 cm from the eyes, not closer. In this position, the eye muscle will be less strained.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the mechanism of gambling addiction, its forms of development and clinical stages are largely identical to those observed in people who use cocaine. Sitting at the computer, players fall into a gaming trance – a state comparable to the effect of hard drugs. The craving for artificial reality is so strong that a person gradually loses interest in ordinary life.