Tackling kids addiction to gaming and social networking

Posted on December 2, 2014 03:03 pm

Addiction remains a prime concern in most societies, be it drug addiction, alcohol addiction, gambling addiction but becoming addicted to video games seems more controversial despite high-profile cases. With children using digital media at an even younger age, media-education becomes a pressing issue for parents. Parents seem to be always worried as they see their children glued to the digital world. These youngsters seem to get upset and worked up if they aren’t connected to the Internet. Parents with school-going children and even toddlers, worry about their constant use of the Internet. Hence it is important for parents to know how to mediate their children’s use of the Internet. Research on how parents guide the online activities of toddlers and young children reveal that for the Internet, parents partly use the same strategies that they also apply for television and video games.Cybercrime refers to any crime involving computers or computer networks including, online credit card fraud, phishing, identity theft, and the dissemination of child pornography or other illegal material.Other examples include overly aggressive and threatening messages submitted online, such as death threats or racist remarks.

It is also important to understand possible psycho-social problems that young people are having offline that overlap with the online experience. As lives are increasingly lived through the Internet, it is critical to identify new ways in which adults can support the fundamental offline identity issues of youth today. Notably, the root of the online problem behaviour might not lie in the cyberworld, but rather in offline everyday life.Adolescents particularly male adolescents seem especially prone to video game addiction though identifying young people who are  vulnerable can be difficult given how popular gaming is in people of all ages. While researchers have linked excessive gaming to different personality factors such as impulsiveness, higher acceptance of violence and lower social skills, gamers having trouble coping with their lives in general can be vulnerable as well.    Not only are people dealing with excessive stress and general unhappiness in their lives more likely to become addicted to video games, but gaming addicts are also more likely to be diagnosed with other disorders.On the other hand, the complexity of the Internet as a focus of multiple activities makes it difficult for parents to guide their children. It, for example, incorporates video content that may be used passively for entertainment, yet it is also a venue for social interaction, as well as for the active production of content.


This sheer diversity creates a serious problem for parents on how to guide their children in all these activities.Children tend to use media at home increasingly, as a solitary activity; it often takes place either in separate spaces, including children’s bedrooms, or on mobile platforms as research has proven.It also makes mediation very difficult for parents to apply when children use media in solitude.In the case of young children, parents may still be more in control of their children’s digital activities, and they may have high expectations about the learning effects of media for pre-schoolers and young children.Therefore, parents can go online together and discuss content as they used to do with television, educational games and books.Research shows that parents have to be more involved, because of online risks such as pornography, cyber bullying and contact with strangers.All these have heightened their concerns about how younger children should cope with such risks. Research has shown that the traditional mediation styles of parents are indeed applicable to Internet usage. On the other hand, research results also suggest that the theory on parental mediation must be expanded. The motivation playing also seems to be a factor in addiction.People who game for fun or socializing are less likely to become addicted than people who are caught up in the need for status or simply to escape from the problems in their lives.  If you’re dealing with real-life failure, escaping from that stress by playing games that give you a sense of victory or control over your life can be a helpful way of coping.

Spending too much time online or “shutting out” the real world with intense gaming can be a different story, though. Research studies have shown the prevalence of various forms of youth cyber victimization.A considerable amount of work has already been done towards investigating cyber bullying and the different forms of online sexual victimization from exposure to risky material to encounters with “sexual predators”. Other issues, such as cyber stalking, expand the range of possible risk scenarios for the youngsters, online. The management of crimes committed online has been particularly difficult and there has been a growing discussion over how various Internet abuses could be controlled.As youth are more at risk, it is important that there is control in various fields including online activity.Research indicates that young people are more likely to seek out modes of interaction and expression online. Cybercrime is an existing phenomenon, yet no more common than any other crime. Research also shows that cybercrime victimization is associated with violent experiences offline and other possible psycho-social problems, illustrating the need for a deeper understanding of the areas of overlap between the two in the arena of Internet crime.Significantly, research puts forth the findings that cybercrime victimization is likely becoming an important category for the understanding of how young people are exposed to crime.

Contador Harrison