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Sadie Says… Signs video games may have a negative impact

Q: I’m worried that my grandchildren spend a lot of time playing video games. How do I know when it becomes a real problem?

A: Your concern is understandable. Video and computer games have become a big part of many kids’ lives, especially for boys.

Youth report that it’s one of the most common topics of conversation when meeting new people. There are positive aspects to video gaming, like helping children with reading and problem-solving. Since many games are multi-player, they can be opportunities for socializing and collaborating. But ask yourself these questions to determine if it could become a serious issue:

• Is your grandchild socializing less with friends?

• Are their grades declining?

• Is their sleep or general health being affected?

• Do they express excessive anger and frustration when denied access to the game?

• Do they feel depressed or anxious when not playing the game?

You should talk with the child’s pediatrician if you’re concerned about any of these things.

Additionally, utilizing these strategies can help your grandchild play safely and with lowered risk.

Protect information

Tell them to never share name, age, location or banking/ credit card information.

Be positively engaged

Talk and learn about the game. Maybe even play with them sometimes.

Promote positive play

Set the limits on gaming and educate yourself on rating systems so they are only playing age-appropriate games.

If you’re worried that your grandchild may develop problem gaming, gamequitters.com is an excellent resource for gamers and their families.

— Sadie Says is provided by the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition.

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