Popular pastime or a damaging dependence? Worrying signs your teen has a gaming addiction

Popular pastime or a damaging dependence? Worrying signs your teen has a gaming addiction

Gaming has been popular since the 1970s, and from Atari to Sega, Nintendo to Playstation, both consoles and their games have evolved through the decades, from humble, arcade-style beginnings, to fully immersive, open world, hyper-realistic experiences. It’s hardly surprising that the gaming industry is worth billions.

Worryingly, as immersive as this hobby can be, more teens than ever before are reaching out for help with gaming addiction. When these problems begin to emerge, it can be difficult to know where to turn to. While young adult mental health treatment can help your teen to tackle this issue and come through the other side, recognising the signs of gaming addiction is essential for your child’s mental wellbeing. Here we’ll explore the worrying signs your teen has a gaming addiction.

Withdrawal symptoms

Chances are, if you’re already concerned about the amount of time your child is spending on playing video games, you may have tried to kerb their game-time. If your attempts have been met with aggression, frustration and anger – often uncontrollable outbursts – then your teen could have an addiction.


Of course, it’s wonderful when your child has a passion, but there’s a fine line between passion for a hobby and obsession. Being able to differentiate between these emotions could indicate your child has a gaming addiction. Is it all they talk about? Have they lost interest in their other hobbies or subjects? When they’re not gaming are they incessantly talking about it? If so, you may want to reach out for help.

Poor hygiene and lack of personal care

We were all teenagers once, and we’re all familiar with the sudden need to take better care of ourselves. We wash more, style our hair, try to look after our skin and want to look and feel good. However, if your teen is handling an addiction to video games – much like any sort of addiction – then their personal care may start to take a back seat. Dedicating less time to self-care and hygiene are clear signs that gaming could be a real problem.

Their school performance is suffering

Your child doesn’t have to go from straight As to Fs to have a gaming addiction. Regardless of their academic history, if your teen is no longer taking their studies seriously and has a complete lack of interest or care in their school performance – opting to game instead – then it’s time to step in.

Their social life declines

Most teens enjoy time in solitude. But excessive periods isolated from family and friends could be a sign of an underlying issue. They could be using gaming as a way to cope with a negative social event, feelings of depression or anxiety. Using gaming as a crutch to support themselves through traumatic experiences will only mean spiralling from one mental health issue to another.

What next?

If you believe your teen has a gaming addiction, don’t allow it to take root any longer. Reach out to your teen and consider seeking mental health and behavioural counselling as soon as possible.



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