Games are not intrinsically addictive. No matter how hard game-makers try to make them grabby, games don’t represent an addiction in and of themselves.
If games were actually addictive as some claim, there’d never be any failed games.
The whole nature of psychological addiction is commonly misunderstood.
Addiction revolves around pain. The corollary is that relief and pleasure are also implicated, but pain is the core of addiction.
If your son or daughter is addicted to a game, it isn’t the game that’s important. They’ve lost control because of stress and emotional pain in their life. The game is the nearest thing to hand that assuages and distracts from it. It provides relief. Relief that they’re not able to get from other avenues, including yourself.
If you focus on the game as the problem, you’re letting your kid down, because you’re missing the reason for the problem. If you remove the game, they’ll find something else as the focus – because they need help and they’re not getting it. The addiction is the symptom, and not the cause.
Also, don’t mistake heavy use for addiction. Everyone’s different and some people can balance many hours of gaming with the rest of their lives and have no difficulties with it. Others can manage only a little. As a responsible parent it’s more important to observe if it is interfering or not.
If it isn’t interfering then there’s no problem.
If it the activity is interfering with important aspects of their lives, like schoolwork, then you need to look at what it is that your child is seeking escape from. It might even be you.
Find the problem, and help your son or daughter with the problem, and you’ll find that the addiction goes away.
The addiction is not the core problem. Addiction is a symptom.
Treating addiction is like treating any illness; While you need to also tackle the symptoms, you must never allow that to distract or divert you from treating the cause, otherwise you’re making the situation worse, not better.
Start by looking in the mirror. You might not actually be the problem, but that’s where you have the most agency – where it is most in your power to effect change. If you can provide your child the relief they need either directly or indirectly, they won’t continue to seek it out in forms addictive behaviour – in games or in anything else.
If you can’t, then they’ve got even bigger problems than you might have imagined.