Kids addicted to gaming can hinder their development

Gaming can affect kid's emotional and social development.

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/ WMGT) – Parents, if there’s a video game system in your home your kids have probably mentioned Fortnite or NBA2K.

New data from the World Health Organization says you should control the time your child spends playing in a virtual world.

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Earlier this year, the World Health Organization added gaming to the list of possible addictions. Your kids are possibly tuned in somewhere in a virtual realm, but in reality, parts of their development are turning off due to gaming addictions.

“It’s fun because you get to play people from all over. Then as you start winning, it becomes more fun,” 8-year-old Jeremiah Clark said.

“They just see an activity that they like and are interested in,” Shantel McCrary, a mother, said.

“Gaming addiction is just like any other addiction. Where you devote too much energy or too much time to one particular thing,” Coliseum Medical Centers Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor Bruce Konn said.

In younger kid’s rooms like Clark, toys haven’t filled his room since he was in kindergarten.

The third grader rather get lost in a virtual world.

“It’s getting away from spending time with friends and they’ll say that they’re with their friends in the game, but that’s an artificial environment,” Konn said.

He adds, when children don’t have face-to-face interaction, it has an impact on their development.

“Whatever we do in the world to manage our stress, to cope, we need to face those stressors in life. Gaming sort of circumvents that and you really emotionally stop developing because all of your emotions is focused on feeling good in that moment,” Konn said.

While playing video games, you’re trying to do a task, by yourself, to move up levels. Konn says completing tasks is meaningful, but there’s more to it.

As parents, he says they need to intervene.

“So symptoms, you’ll see irritability, you’ll see rationalizations, you’ll see all of the excuses,” Konn said.

Mom of four, McCrary says she knows she can’t control what her kids do behind her back, but under her roof she does.

“I take the time out to monitor what my kids play and listen to because I know it’s stuff out here that can be hypnotism and they don’t know it,” she said.

Because as kids hit teenage years, Konn says that’s when they start to identify themselves. They do so by interacting in the hallways at school or the cafeteria.

“If you’re at home gaming, you’re not accomplishing that task,” Konn said.

Also, Konn sayd by playing the game before you go to bed interferes with going to sleep, because after a while it’s like sunlight. He adds limiting playing time to weekends, so it doesn’t affect school work. Or try to limit them to an hour or so a day.