TPJ 39: Screen Time & Video Games
Is the battle over your children’s screen time a constant source of frustration (and tantrums!)? Are you concerned they’re spending too much time on screens and that it might be unhealthy and even stunting their mental, social, and physical development?
🙋🏽 I’m right there with you.
In this episode I talk with Dr. Alok Kanojia (a world-class addiction psychiatrist and reformed gamer) and his wife Kruti about gaming and screen time, breaking down the intricacies and nuances that will help each of us address the issue in our own families.
[3:05 ] What is Healthy Gamer?
[7:16 ] It’s challenging to balance children’s screen time without isolating them from their friends and community.
[8:48 ] If it causes a problem in a major area of life (mental, social, physical, etc.), then it is a problem.
[11:04 ] Reframe conversations with our children about video games/screen time and avoid being antagonistic.
[12:00 ] Consider having weekly check-ins where you discuss gaming & screen time with your child, creating a sense of shared responsibility and goals.
[13:27 ] Figure out what type of gamer our children are (do they like to build & create vs. high intensity and competition). It will help us find offline activities that they’ll be interested in.
[16:40 ] What’s a healthy amount of game/screen time?
[19:30 ] Research indicates that violence in games doesn’t increase violence in real life. The communities that form around games are more concerning than the games themselves.
[20:10 ] Move away from headsets to speakers so we can hear what our children are hearing when they play (especially any conversation that’s happening with other people in the game).
[21:43 ] Watch for when our children have that blank stare/zoned out look. That’s a good time to transition to something else.
[22:18 ] Watch out for dopamine burnout. That’s when addiction can set in, and may require more direct intervention.
[24:00 ] How do we set healthy boundaries and expectations?
[27:20 ] Find other ways for children to enjoy the characters and stories they love (soundtracks, short stories, etc.).
[29:47 ] Kids who gravitate toward games are often intelligent and are seeking ways to be challenged.
[32:52 ] Should we limit screen time? There’s no one-size-fits-all.
[34:32 ] We’re trying to model and teach our children restraint, not restriction.
In the end, we need to trust our parental intuition to determine what’s right for our families. And we need to have grace for ourselves as we try things and figure out what works best for each unique child.
To find out more about Dr. Alok and Kruti Kanojia's work, head over to https://www.healthygamer.gg/.
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Show Notes: https://www.theparentingjunkie.com/39