The heavy consumption of video games by some adolescents sometimes worries their parents.

How do you know when the addiction starts?

A deteriorating social and family life, weight loss, or even increased consumption over the long term are among the warning signs.

The vast majority of teenagers are fond of video games.

Some spend many hours glued to their controller and sometimes slip into addiction.

According to Bruno Rocher, psychiatrist and addictology at Nantes University Hospital and co-author of the book "Is my child addicted to games", the proportion of addicts would be between 1 and 10% of players.

Guest from Europe 1 on Thursday, he gave some advice to recognize the signs of an addiction.

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The increase in consumption over a long period

"The patients who come to see us play between 10 and 15 hours a day for many months," says Bruno Rocher.

But according to him, addiction cannot be quantified in an hourly volume.

"The WHO established a benchmark two years ago. It is not a question of schedule, but of duration: observe the phenomenon for a year, to observe a long-term development that invades the daily life of the individual, ”he explains.

For the psychiatrist, therefore, there is no need to worry when a teenager plays 10 hours on a weekend.

"It is precisely one of the experiments of adolescence", he analyzes.

When family life becomes conflictual

"When someone plays, even a lot, but it is still a pleasure, that there are hobbies that remain present, that family life is going well, there is no need to worry. It is when family life becomes particularly conflictual that we have to worry, ”explains Bruno Rocher.

For example, when the player stays locked in his room, cuts himself off from his friends or devotes himself only to a virtual social life.


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However, it is difficult to know if this degradation is due to addiction or simply to a passing mood of adolescence.

Bruno Rocher then advises asking an outside perspective: a psychiatrist, a general practitioner who has known the family for a long time, a neighbor or a teacher, for example.

"We must not stay in camera," advises the addictologist.

A deteriorating physical condition

"We see very thin young boys, with dietary limitations that are not due to a phobia, but rather to a lack of interest in food and the time spent eating", notes Dr. Bruno Rocher.

In addition, if video games are consumed as much by girls as by boys, the problems of addiction mainly concern boys, according to the addictologist.