In the face of the new world situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, many parents have expressed concern about the number of hours their children spend playing in front of a console.
Confinement has caused consoles and New technologies become a means of entertainment or escape for weeks.
A new study confirmed that confinement has triggered our time with video games like never before.
These are data from an eSports report collected by the group specialized in the use of decision science technologies AcuityAds. Online consumption increased by 75% in Spain, Italy, China and the United States, the countries, along with the United Kingdom and France, most affected by the pandemic.
When and how much to play  Children under the age of 7 should play for one to two hours a day. If they are eight years old or older it is recommended that there be a dialogue about what is reasonable. “It can be two to three hours, as long as the child does his homework and there is no deterioration in other areas,” said doctor and clinical psychologist Alfonso Martínez Taboas.
The American Pediatric Association (APA) recommends letting play children between one and two hours maximum a day or weekends. Therefore, it is necessary to establish rules as to what days and hours it can be played.
Parents should establish routines and schedules, prevent their child from locking themselves in their room to play for hours, encourage creative activities and games table games as a family and urge them to do physical exercise.
Signs of addiction and its consequences
Children and adolescents who play too long to the point of obsession tend to neglect their academic tasks, begin to losing interest in other activities that were previously practiced, change in mood and behavior, and compulsive use of video games.
According to the psychologist, this situation brings psychological, psychosocial and physiological problems. These areas begin to deteriorate and deteriorate.
“Video game addiction presents a symptomatology similar to drug addiction. The addictive use of video games leads to symptoms of depression, anxiety, insecurity, loneliness or social phobias, “said Martínez Taboas.
He added that” this also causes the child or adolescent to cheat on family members. ” People with video game addictions try to lie about the number of hours they spend playing in front of the console.
Other symptoms of “gaming disorder” are:
- Withdrawal symptoms when not playing  Loss of track of time
- Insomnia, neglect of hygiene and nutrition
- Inability to stop playing when a time limit is set
- Physical complications such as headache, muscle pain, tendinitis, overweight, hypertension and vision problems.
In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) included “game disorder” (in English, gaming disorder) in the most recent version of its International Classification of Diseases.
According to the WHO, video game disorder can be distinguished by “a control altered by games, increasing its priority over other activities and interests despite its consequences negative results. ”
The greatest risk, according to the classification, would be in the reduction or neglect of other activities. The WHO points out that the pattern of use of these games is persistent despite the fact that the person is aware of the greater risk of harm that this activity has for himself or for others.
How to treat and avoid this behavior
Martínez Taboas pointed out that if your son is spending too much time playing, you have to talk and make rules at home. The rules are negotiated. It must be ensured that these rules are followed and respected and that the child or adolescent agrees with them.
“After imposing the rules, you continue to see the same behavior where the child or adolescent spends many hours in the game, not he is doing homework, he is lying, he is not socializing with friends and he is constantly tired, and that is potentially excessive. There parents should talk to their child and seek professional help if the situation has gotten out of control. Many times you have to go to a clinical psychologist, a counselor or a psychiatrist to do family sections, “said the clinical psychologist.
These sections are about adopting rules and conditions of how far you can and where you can’t. The idea is that the child will reduce the amount of time he is playing and diversify the activities.
The doctor indicated that he has worked on many cases related to the excessive use of video games. “Almost all the cases that I have are mainly of adolescents. Typically I talk to the young man, I know him and we talk about his situation. Then we do family sections where the goal is to try to see how the adolescent and his parents reach agreements where they feel comfortable with the schedule and time. ”
” In some cases, parents ask that the child or adolescent do your homework and if there is time then you can negotiate a limited time to play video games. Another thing that is negotiated is that you do not go to bed late, for example at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. So these things are about negotiating and in some cases behavioral contracts are made, “explained Martínez Taboas.
A behavioral contract is a written document, prepared by the parties involved in a problematic situation or by someone who mediates between them. It specifies the behaviors that the person involved agrees to issue, as well as the consequences derived from both compliance and non-compliance with the agreement.
“This contract is going to be reviewed from section to section to corroborate that it is being complying, “he said. “If it is not complied with, the young person is interviewed again to see what factors are preventing it from being met and what other things can be negotiated to help the young person modify his behavior,” he said.
Recommendations  Most young people use video games to escape problems, painful situations or a family loss. It is an escape tool.
For this reason, Martínez Taboas urges all parents to monitor and watch the time their child spends on activity, social performance, and mood changes.
“If you see that they change unfavorably and he is playing a lot, these are signs that something is wrong, “concluded the psychologist.