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Video Gaming: Round Table Discussion

Updated: Dec 30, 2018

Wayne Township Library 10/15/2018 7-8 pm

Information presented to parents:

  • The game is available on PCs, Macs, PS4, and Xbox One. There's also a mobile app for iPhones. (An Android version is on the way.)

  • Fortnite blends elements of several genres, including shooting, survival, and exploration. “Battle Royale.”

  • At the start, 100 players are dropped into a single level, known as a “map.” They compete alone and in groups of two or four. They can build a squad using recruits from an in-game friends list or have the game fill out the team with random people. Players then fan across the map, finding weapons and other items to help them survive, eliminating opponents along the way.

  • The last player or team standing wins.

  • Fortnite is what’s known as a “free to play” game, which means there’s no upfront cost to download it.

  • Makes money by selling virtual items, such as costumes (known as skins), equipment, and funny dance moves, for use in the game. And those items—often presented in limited-time offers—can quickly add up in cost.

  • Fortnite is rated “T for Teen” by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, the video game industry equivalent to the Motion Picture Association of America. That falls below Mature (17+) and Adults Only (18+).

Key Signs of Gaming Addiction

  • slipping grades,

  • missing sleep, and

  • spending less time socializing with friends.

  • teens may sometimes express that they wish they played less but feel like they can’t stop,

The DSM-5 notes that gaming must cause "significant impairment or distress" in several aspects of a person's life. This proposed condition is limited to gaming and does not include problems with general use of the internet, online gambling, or use of social media or smartphones. The proposed symptoms of internet gaming disorder include:

  • Preoccupation with gaming

  • Withdrawal symptoms when gaming is taken away or not possible (sadness, anxiety, irritability)

  • Tolerance, the need to spend more time gaming to satisfy the urge

  • Inability to reduce playing, unsuccessful attempts to quit gaming

  • Giving up other activities, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities due to gaming

  • Continuing to game despite problems

  • Deceiving family members or others about the amount of time spent on gaming

  • The use of gaming to relieve negative moods, such as guilt or hopelessness

  • Risk, having jeopardized or lost a job or relationship due to gaming

Under the proposed criteria, a diagnosis of internet gaming disorder would require experiencing five or more of these symptoms within a year. The condition can include gaming on the internet, or on any electronic device, although most people who develop clinically significant gaming problems play primarily on the internet.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5®). American Psychiatric Pub.

Determining Healthy Screen Time

American Academy of Pediatrics identifies screen time as time spent using digital media for entertainment purposes. Other uses of media, such as online homework, don't count as screen time.

Infants 18 months and younger should not be exposed to screens

2-5 years old: The AAP recommends that "parents prioritize creative, unplugged playtime for infants and toddlers," according to its press release. Children this age can be introduced to screens, but only for one hour a day. The type of media they are exposed to is critical: only high-quality programs, such as "Sesame Street" and other PBS shows should be viewed.

For healthy kids, an average day includes:

  • School: 7 hours

  • Homework time (Duke University Study (2006) = 10 minutes per grade),

  • At least one hour of physical activity

  • Social contact- dinner with family, play date

  • Sleep which is anywhere from eight to 12 hours for kids

Whatever's left over can be screen time.

Growing up Digital by Dr. Lauren Busfield

A brief synopsis of the issues of concern shared during round table discussion:

  • Maintaining the rules you set for your kids about their gaming and social media when their friends do not have parental boundaries in place for electronics in their home. Being the one parent in your child's peer group to say "no," and being okay with that.

  • A challenge parents face today is how to keep up with all the technology available to kids. How do we stay one step ahead?

  • Video games are designed to allure and hold interest. How do we make real life as exciting and interesting?

  • What about social media? How do we healthily guide our kids through this type of communication? Especially when whatever is posted on social media is carefully contrived, and often far from reality.

  • Joseph Rude from the Wayne Police Department stopped by and suggested parents read: Stop Teaching our Kids to Kill, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. The book talks about how active shooter video games negatively impact our children and put all at risk.

The Takeaway:

  • Open the lines of communication with your kids and keep them open. Driving in the car with your kids is a great opportunity for conversations.

  • Try to understand what they are getting from their gaming, and offer this in other ways. For instance, if you child gets a sense of accomplishment from video games offer other ways for them to feel that accomplishment that does not involve electronics.

  • Not all gaming and social media is bad. We need to teach our children how to navigate these new frontiers. Share your experiences with them and guide them, rather than restrict and forbid.

  • Be willing to unplug with them. We need to be good role models and show them what we want them to do. We also have to be willing to offer alternatives to video game playing, which may take some effort and planning. How about electronic-free Sundays?

  • Game with you child.Make it a family event, and bring it out into the open. Be a presence in their gaming world.

Thank you to everyone who came out and shared their thoughts and experiences last night.

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