Children's game addiction, where is the "antidote" (care for the growth of seedlings)

During the summer vacation, some children spend all day with mobile phones, computers and other electronic products, addicted to video games. Parents see it in their eyes and are anxious in their hearts: forced control is easy to hurt the parent-child relationship, regardless of the fear of children's game addiction. So, does liking to play games equal gaming addiction? How can I tell if a child is addicted to games? How should parents treat their children's gaming behavior?

Love to play games ≠ gaming addiction

"As soon as I see my child playing games, I am anxious and anxious, and if I don't care, he can keep playing."

"My child's grades regressed some time ago, and I feel that it has a lot to do with playing games. A month ago, I dismantled the router at home and took my children to read some more story-telling books in their spare time to find alternatives to games. ”

"My family and my children agreed that they usually can't use the Internet, but they have 3 Internet access opportunities on weekends, and they can play for 10 minutes at a time. The child is still young, playing small games, 10 minutes at a time is basically enough, and a little older may not work. ”

Recently, at the second Youth Internet Health Use Summer Camp held by Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, a group of parents sat together to share each other's troubles and tried methods, and discussed how to keep their children away from online games. Many parents confess that they are nervous when they see their children playing games, and they are worried that their children are addicted to games. Does liking to play games equal to gaming addiction? How far between the two?

"Internet addiction among children and adolescents has attracted great attention from all walks of life, but there are still some misunderstandings about the understanding of gaming disorder." Yang Kebing, director of the Addiction Medicine Center of Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, introduced that on May 2019, 5, the World Health Organization officially included "gaming disorder" as a new disease in the disease unit of "disorders caused by addictive behavior". According to the definition of disease classification, gaming disorder refers to a pattern of behavior that uses electronic or video games continuously or repeatedly, manifests as uncontrolled gaming behavior, gaming becomes a priority behavior in life, and continues to play behavior regardless of adverse consequences, and persists for a longer period of time.

"Video games have become a common form of entertainment for many children, but it should be clear that most children do not develop gaming disorder. In clinical practice, there are fairly strict criteria for the diagnosis of gaming disorder. Yang Kebing introduced that there are four criteria for the clinical manifestations of game addiction: continuous or repeated game behavior patterns; Out-of-control gaming behavior, manifested as the inability to control the occurrence, frequency, duration, and termination time of game behavior; Compared to other interests and daily activities, gaming behavior has become a priority in life; Despite the negative consequences (e.g., breakdown of relationships, career or academic impact, health damage, etc.), gaming behavior cannot be stopped.

"After meeting the above 4 criteria, the duration also needs to be judged, usually for at least 12 months to be diagnosed as gaming addiction, and if the symptoms are severe, the duration can be shortened." Yang Kebing emphasized that age and game addiction have an "inverted U-shaped" relationship, and the risk of occurrence is higher in the critical period of human brain development, learning growth, and interpersonal relationship establishment, that is, the 10-25 years old stage.

According to the expert consensus on the prevention and treatment of gaming disorder (2019 version) released by the Psychiatry Branch of the Chinese Medical Association and the Mental Health Branch of the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, a number of relevant research studies in China show that the prevalence of game-related problems is 3.5%-17%. Based on previous studies, the prevalence of gaming disorder averaged about 5% and remained relatively stable. People with gaming disorders are mainly male, children and adolescents.

A child's addiction to gaming may be a cry for help to parents

With the increasing popularity of the Internet, the Internet has become an important learning, social and entertainment platform for contemporary children and adolescents, and its role in the process of growing up has become increasingly prominent. It's no surprise that kids love playing video games, but why do some kids get to the point of obsession? Why are online games so addictive?

"Games are fun and make me relax", "I am happy when I win", "I can make friends in games", "My classmates play (video games), I don't play and I don't fit in"... At the camp, the children gave a variety of answers.

"Gaming addiction reflects real needs." According to Liu Yan, a psychotherapist at the Addiction Medicine Center of Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, if a certain type of event occurs repeatedly in a person's life, from a psychological point of view, such things must be meaningful to him - either to help him gain something, or to help him avoid something, or to superimpose the above two possibilities.

"When children are addicted to online games, what they love is often not the game itself, but some feelings that cannot be satisfied in real life but obtained in the game: the feeling of being cared for, the feeling of freedom, the feeling of pleasure, the feeling of strength, etc." Liu Yan said that children can also maintain some virtual relationships in the game, create some virtual feelings and even extreme love, "but games cannot create actual value, nor can they provide real survival needs and real security." ”

"In our clinical work, we have found that there are often various problems lurking behind gaming addiction." Yang Kebing said that in addition to the influence of genetic factors (for example, some people are naturally more prone to addictive behavior), behind children's addiction to games, there are more or less family relationship discord problems. Some family relationships are tense, parents frequently break out quarrels, children are at a loss, resulting in a sense of helplessness; Some parents are not at home or too busy all year round, and the lack of companionship of children will produce loneliness; Some parents are stronger, the family atmosphere is depressed, and the children want to escape the high pressure of the family... These are all easier for children to indulge in games.

According to experts, relevant social studies on children with gaming disorder have found that compared with healthy children, children with game addiction have significantly poorer "delayed gratification" ability, and the formation of this situation is often related to parents' excessive pampering and failure to effectively cultivate children's related abilities. At the same time, children in adolescence, if they are frustrated academically or interpersonally, and it is difficult to obtain a sense of dignity and honor from school, parents or other aspects, are also prone to fall into game addiction.

"From another perspective, children addicted to games may actually be calling out to parents for help - 'Please give me warm love'." Liu Yan said that when people's instinctive needs cannot be met, as a self-help behavior, they may go to the online world to seek stimulation, "This is not a pathological phenomenon, but a compensatory behavior and way." However, as they spend more time in the online world, children will become more and more indifferent to the connection to the external real world, and eventually will gradually use a dissociative way to deal with the external world. At this time, the external world is like a dream for children, and the online world is like real life.

A good parent-child relationship is the best "antidote" to game addiction

"The treatment of gaming addiction is complex." Yang Kebing introduced that for the withdrawal of addiction, treatment is mainly psychotherapy and behavioral therapy, including behavioral replacement, family therapy, group therapy, etc., if it involves comorbidities such as depression, it is also necessary to cooperate with drug treatment and physical therapy.

"Psychotherapy is a very important treatment for gaming disorder, which can effectively quit Internet addiction." Liu Yan said that for most people with gaming disorder, addiction to games is only an external behavior and result, and the deeper reason is that there is a problem with their real relationship, children are not really seen and respected, or their normal needs are not met, or they are not able to cope well with the pressure and difficulties of reality. Therefore, people with gaming disorder need the help of psychotherapists to find out the psychological reasons that really lead to their addictive gaming behavior, and help children reconnect with reality through systematic intervention. In addition, gaming disorder in children and adolescents is often accompanied by mental and psychological disorders such as mood disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which require drug treatment.

"The fundamental goal of treating gaming disorder is to quit internet addiction so that you can use the Internet healthily, not turn it away." Yang Kebing said that nowadays, there are many only children in families, and it is inevitable that children use electronic products to relieve loneliness. If the child completes the academic tasks normally, he or she can play the game appropriately. Excessive prohibition of entertainment may cause children to have a rebellious mentality, resulting in an increased risk of game addiction. Parents themselves should not regard the Internet as a flood beast, but should correctly guide their children to go online and actively prevent game addiction.

Yang Kebing introduced that the current clinical prevention and treatment of game addiction can be divided into three stages: "primary prevention", "secondary prevention" and "tertiary prevention". "Primary prevention" mainly includes the cognition and education of the disease itself; "Secondary prevention" is mainly to prevent the occurrence of diseases by taking partial measures in social settings such as schools and families; "Tertiary prevention" is to intervene in children who have been diagnosed with gaming disorder to promote a better outcome.

Experts said that if the source of children's interest or stimulation points mainly comes from games, which is easy to satisfy instantly, it is easy to lose the ability to delay gratification. Parents should help children from an early age, develop the ability to control impulses, delay gratification, and guide children to strive to obtain certain satisfaction in daily life. Children before the age of 6 should participate in parent-child activities that interact with others as much as possible, such as reading books with their parents or playing with children of the same age, and it is recommended to control the time of using electronic products within half an hour to 1 hour a day; For children above junior high school, it is recommended to control the cumulative time of using electronic products within 2 hours a day.

In addition, in order to prevent children's game addiction, parents should strive to listen to their children's needs, find common topics with their children, increase in-depth communication with their children, make friends with their children, respect their children's autonomy, and enhance their sense of achievement in reality. At the same time, parents should also guide their children to cultivate healthy and diversified interests and hobbies, such as chess, playing ball, etc., and encourage children to do more outdoor activities, make more friends, and socialize more face-to-face. It should be noted that parents should lead by example, and what parents ask their children to do, parents must do first, and avoid simple and rude communication with children. If children spend more and more time playing games, affecting daily life and learning, parents are advised to seek professional help.

"Game addiction is greatly affected by children's growth experience and environment, and a good parent-child relationship is the best 'antidote' to game addiction." Yang Kebing called on parents to try to find time and accompany their children in the real world as much as possible in order to fundamentally prevent game addiction. (People's Daily Overseas Edition)