Table of contents:
- One step away from the abyss
- Why are games so attractive?
- Close attention
- Dealing with addiction
- Expert opinion
Video: The World In Your Pocket - Society
Parents, at least occasionally attending school, are surprised to note that already from 10-11 years of age, children do not run or play during recess. To the delight of the teachers, they quietly stand at the wall, buried in smartphones. And the point is not that modern fifth-graders grow up earlier than their predecessors. It's just that something more interesting has appeared in their lives.
One step away from the abyss
Along with the increase in computing power of smartphones, there has been an explosive growth in the gaming industry. Ultra-realistic simulations, colorful fantasy worlds, online multiplayer games - all this can now be carried in your pocket.
Many games are designed to keep you from distraction for long. You need to constantly raise the level and increase the skills (game skills) of your character. What a concentration on the lessons, if you need to check every hour for new coins!
There are three types of death in our world: cardiac arrest, brain death, and going online
Scientists and doctors cannot yet agree on whether gambling addiction should be considered a disease. At least, in the current list of ICD-10 (International Classifier of Diseases) there is no such diagnosis.
However, addiction experts identify gambling addiction as a form of addiction and classify it as behavioral, not chemical. However, it has recently been found that chemicals, overeating, and obsessive habits such as games, porn, and even workaholism affect the same areas of the brain, interfering with the production or passage of dopamine.
This neurotransmitter serves as an important part of the "reward system", inducing a sense of satisfaction, and thus influences the processes of motivation and learning. In gambling addiction there are integral components of all addictions, both chemical and behavioral: the desire to escape from reality and strong emotions. So the inclusion of cyber-jurisdiction in the International Classifier is most likely a matter of time.
Why are games so attractive?
If you look at computer games through the prism of needs - the main source of human motivation - their appeal becomes very clear.
The now classic Abraham Maslow pyramid contains five levels. We list them as the need decreases:
- 1. Physiological needs: hunger, thirst, sex drive, etc.
- 2. Security needs : comfort, constancy of living conditions.
- 3. Social: ties with the group, communication, affection, concern for others and attention to oneself, joint activities.
- 4. Prestige: self-esteem, respect from others, recognition, achievement of success and appreciation.
- 5. Spiritual: cognition, self-actualization, self-expression, self-identification.
In full growth, these needs first arise before a teenager. It's no wonder to be scared! The game, on the other hand, allows you to satisfy all of them, except for the first category - physiological needs, the satisfaction of which it, on the contrary, prevents (this is associated with cases of death of gamers from physiological and nervous exhaustion right at the computer).
The game satisfies the need for safety, because, unlike the real world, it is predictable, has a clear and finite set of rules
The game also provides for the third level - social needs, providing comfortable communication with like-minded participants and joint activities. The need for prestige is also quite realizable - an experienced player enjoys great authority in his environment. Well, spiritual needs are also, at the very least, satisfied: self-expression in playable characters, increasing one's own significance.
In fact, the game only creates the illusion of satisfying needs. The illusion is very beautiful, high quality. In play, the child is faced with a much brighter, more attractive and hassle-free world compared to the one he sees around him. It is these qualities of virtual reality that are dangerous for children. At the age of 10–12, they are still studying the world, their systems of values and motivations are still just being formed.
The difficulties that a child of this age experiences in real life help these systems to form normally. The game, on the other hand, gives the illusion of the possibility of satisfying needs and receiving pleasure without the need for effort. Winning the game is an easy and safe way to get intense pleasure, almost euphoric.
According to the definition of the famous Russian addictologist, psychiatrist Caesar Korolenko, addictive behavior is expressed "in the desire to escape from reality by changing one's mental state by taking certain substances or constantly fixing attention on certain objects or active activities, which is accompanied by the development of intense emotions."
Unsatisfactory reality is, in a sense, always an internal reality, since the external environment is perceived, recognized as the main reason for the discomfort of the internal mental state, from which there is a desire to get rid of. In everyday life, each person chooses their own options for getting rid of psychological discomfort: watching movies, walking, exercising, getting support from friends or relatives, etc.
These methods of getting rid of unpleasant experiences are not given special, overvalued importance, and special attention is not paid to them.
The most important thing we need is maintaining contact with the child. Ideally, a relationship of trust. However, this is not always possible with teenagers. Therefore, any emotional contact is suitable: regular conversations, joint dinners, checking homework, going to the movies, traveling on vacation. All this, of course, without undue stifling control. Just try to be with your child periodically and stay tuned in to him.
What should be alert in behavior? There are fairly specific criteria for talking about the onset of addiction.
- 1. The game begins to affect other areas of life. For example, a child slipped through school, abandoned a previously favorite activity, section, circle, began to get sick in order to spend more time at home at a computer or with a tablet.
- 2. The so-called "craving" has appeared - an irresistible desire to play, with which the child cannot cope, despite the threat of punishment.
- 3. Signs of withdrawal ("withdrawal") in case of refusal to play for at least a couple of days. They, of course, are not as painful as with alcoholism or drug addiction. But strong irritability, whims, a feeling of emptiness and uselessness of life, depression and indifference may well be. Moreover, all the symptoms magically disappear upon returning to the game.
To capture the process early on, it is important to pay attention to any characteristic change in behavior. The inability to stop when the child is not just playing at every convenient and inconvenient moment (walking down the street, in class, in the cinema), but also refuses the usual ways of spending time. Decrease in achievements or loss of interest in "obligatory" spheres of life - study, sports, theater studio, which form the habit of stable employment in adulthood. Unexpected irritability towards loved ones or, conversely, an emotional upsurge. Concealment, up to downright lies: “I don’t play, we are discussing homework in mathematics with Serega at Votsap”.
Dealing with addiction
The parents of one high school student, desperate to distract the teenager from the game, simply broke their son's computer. You can, of course, try this. But it is better to act systemically.
If there are warning signs, keep your eyes open and acknowledge the problem. Here, as the saying goes, "it is better to overdo it than to miss it." Talk to your child about your concerns without hiding your concerns. Help him understand the problem. Agree on joint actions.
Together, analyze the situation that preceded gambling addiction and try to understand what needs were not met in real life.
- Striving not to fall out of the group?
- Fear of becoming a classroom outcast?
- Lack of attention or support from significant people?
As soon as you find unsatisfied motives, in no case devalue them (“Oh, well, this is nonsense, I also suffered in your years, but I grew up as a normal person”). Work together to find alternative ways to satisfy them and help your child take advantage of them.
There are examples when martial arts classes helped with self-doubt and fear of becoming an outcast, and the problem of lack of attention was solved by regular joint trips to museums. An effective solution can be pretty simple and straightforward.
If it turns out that cyber-diction has been living in the family for six months or a year, then no matter what the child promises, it is worth contacting a psychologist. The fight against addiction will be stubborn and long. However, it is worth contacting a specialist in any case. After all, if parents have not noticed gambling addiction, this may mean that they themselves live in stress, suffer from unresolved psychological problems. In this case, they themselves need psychological help.
Talk to me, mom
As you know, if there is a person with alcohol addiction in the house, it is better not to provoke him and not to keep vodka in the house. But how to defeat cyber-addiction in a child if mom and dad are on their own all the time “on the phone” or “on the computer”? If, even when they are together, everyone also looks at their gadget? When she brings a child to the theater or to a show, and during the performance she is only passionate about taking pictures and immediately uploading them to the Internet?
I have to admit to myself honestly: there is no big difference, game or Instagram. Parents infect with their addiction. No need to strain to calm your baby down - give him a phone or tablet! For food, or when parents have no time, or simply do not want to take care of the child. And the gadget becomes dearer to mom: after all, it gives pleasure, peace of mind, and new impressions and, most importantly, it will never deny attention, always at hand!
Previously, as a punishment, parents could stop talking, now the worst thing is to deprive the phone! Without knowing it, moms and dads sow the seeds of addiction, and the child has no choice. And yes, the parents bring the child to a psychologist so that the psychologist can "fix" him, but the whole system needs to be "fixed", everyone will have to change.
individual and family psychotherapist