I am an ICT teacher and also a parent of two pre-teen girls. I have just written an article on gaming addiction which I think will be interesting to those of you who know what 'screenagers' are like. The link to the article is here, www.e-safetysupport.com/stories/55/gaming-addiction It would be great to read your opinions and experiences of the subject.
In general, I think we need to expand the discussion of addictions beyond drugs to how pretty much anything can be addicting and harmful, some people are more likely to fall in than others due to brain chemistry rather than a character flaw, how difficult periods can trigger addictive behaviours around "normal" things and how to spot them in yourself and others and openly talk about it. Games are certainly one area to talk about, I know people with electronic addictions (internet more than games, though I've seen young people who games are certainly a focus that could turn into one), they can become all encompassing comfort objects that are already everywhere in out daily lives and, with the focus of addictions as it currently is, it's hard to talk about or even to really see because when in it, people feel like everyone plays games or spends time on the internet and it's hard to see the harm without it being shown to you.
Really appreciated this article and the links contained in it. I noticed in the last few months that my son (12) had become completely obsessed with gaming. It was all he wanted to do, all he talked about and he had lost all interest in anything else. It was almost impossible to get him to turn it off. I decided to take slightly drastic action and took everything away. I allowed him to have his phone at school and took it off him at night. However I was certain I could still hear him up at night so looked & caught him playing games on an old work phone of mine. I literally had to lock everything away. He would lie to play & it completely changed his personality. After about a month of this & talking to him about his addiction and why it is a problem I now let him have a few hours a day. I have also enrolled him in to tae kwon do classes twice a week which he really likes & is really enthusiastic about. I feel like I will have to constantly keep a check on it as he is susceptible to the addiction. Any advice would be great