Parents should send questions and comments to email@example.com or ask them on the columnists' Web site at www.dearteacher.com.
Is Video Addiction a Real Addiction?
Question: We think the reason our eighth grader is suddenly doing poorly in school is because of the amount of time he spends playing video games. Is there such a thing as addiction to video games? How can we get him to start studying more? —Possible Addiction
Answer: The American Psychological Association doesn't believe that there is enough evidence yet to formally consider too much game playing a disorder. There is wide-spread agreement, however, that spending an excessive amount of time playing these games results in behavior similar to that of addicts of many substances.
According to the Center for On-Line Addiction that does consider there is such a thing as video gaming addiction, the signs of such an addiction are:
Playing for increasing amounts of time
Thinking about gaming during other activities
Gaming to escape from real-life problems, anxiety or depression
Lying to friends and family to conceal gaming
Feeling irritable when trying to cut down on gaming
The question isn't so much whether or not excessive video gaming is an addiction, but whether or not it is affecting your son's school work. And this sounds like a definite possibility. First of all, you need to determine when and for how long he is playing these games. Then you can set time limits on playing these games as well as set the rule that the game playing device must be in a family room at all times so that you can clearly see when he is playing video games. It is also sensible to establish the rule that your son's homework must be done and inspected by you before he can play every day.
If your son reacts violently to any suggestion of limiting his gaming time, then there may be a serious problem going so far as to require professional help.
New Year's Resolutions to Put Your Children on the Path to A's and B's
Parents: What you do directly influences how successful your children will be in school. They don't have to be geniuses to get A's and B's in school. This is an absolute myth. However, you do have to instill in them a willingness to work hard and a desire to do their best in order for them to be rewarded with top grades. Because it is the start of a new year and the traditional time to make resolutions, why don't you choose one or more of the following resolutions to make sure your children are truly on the path to making the Honor Roll each grading period. Resolve to
Praise your children for making an effort to do well in school.