Homeschoolers Addicted to Video Games
Want to push a hot homeschooling button? Just bring up video games, and addiction. Many parents worry that their child is “addicted”, and many claim that if they don’t put limitations on their children, they will become addicted. Other parents feel that letting kids play a lot of video games is fine so long as they have a varied and interested in life, and others think that playing video games all the time is totally OK no matter what. Who is right? Are homeschoolers more or less likely to be addicted to video games?
This is a question that laces a lot of the video game debates. My argument has always been that video games are not the issue, and that whether or nor a child becomes addicted has to do with their bio-chemistry, family dynamics, and their underlying feeling of personal worth. It’s completely possible for a child to play video games a lot, yet be fulfilled and happy, and another child play video games for only a short time per day, and be “addicted”. How much a child plays, or even how much a child *wants* to play, isn’t a top indicator of addiction. There is a lot more to it.
Check out this article about video game addiction. And check out this article about the specific signs of addiction.
In the latter article, I’d like to point out the clear distinction between a child’s indication of addiction and an adult’s. The list for children is entirely related to school performance. In other words, this list might not be a video game addiction, but rather, using video games as an escape from the suckiness of a life that is nothing but school.
The adult list, however is a more telling list of indications; not eating, not relating to people, irritable when not playing video games, apathy towards life in general. Those are true signs of addiction.
However, if you notice, there is only one very small indication that involves the actual playing of video games as the cause or the symptom to video game addiction.
This isn’t about video games. This is bigger than that.
If a child is truly addicted to video games, simply taking them away or limiting them will not solve this problem any more than taking credit cards away from a compulsive buyer will solve the problem. Because it’s not about video games.
If a child is not addicted to video games, then there’s not a problem, right? It simply a matter of better time management. It’s still not about video games.
Now, this isn’t to say that we should just let our kids do whatever they want. That’s not a solution either. What we should be doing is figuring out what the real problem is underneath it all and addressing that.
When a homeschool kid plays more video games than we like, it is not appropriate to use the same gauge as school kids’ parents to assess whether our children are addicted. Most likely, they are not addicted, simply super duper into video games. Can we make that distinction? Or is our own entrapment in school-think keeping us from being able to take a step back and look at what’s really going on?
In any case, we can’t assume that playing a lot of video games means something is wrong with our kids. If there’s something wrong, even if it’s an addiction, it’s a family dynamic issue, a relationship issue, or a bio-chemical issue, not a video game issue. As homeschoolers, we have the time and flexibility to enjoy video games, even a lot of video games, in a healthy, collective way, and to deal with the video game issue for what it really is.