Dear Doctor,

I just heard on the TV that China has restricted video game time for their young people. I am a grandmother, and when the grandchildren come for a visit, it seems to be they can't take themselves away from their computers and games. It must take away from time for education and learning. It worries me. What do you think as a psychologist?

Gma

Family Matters: Recalling the spirit of Billy, and wishing goodwill to all

Dr. Larry Larsen

Dear Gma,

I think you are one savvy grandma.

Often in my field, one sees young teens especially addicted to video games. Life is like a shelf, and we are able to put things on it in the form of time. When the shelf if full, there is no room for many worthwhile things.

When I use the term "addiction," it is literally true. It has been described to me as a time consuming craving, a deep and consuming desire. More importantly it wrecks education and learning.

I have seen teens who would not leave their room to visit the bathroom using bottles to relieve themselves. Hours of time pass in time playing while assignments and reading are forgotten.

China is a story of its own. Here in America it is the task of the parent to monitor the video game experience. If you have grandchildren you are worried about, stay quiet but do show their parents this column.

Definitely limit video game time. Make school time sacred and be involved in the learning process. Begin with a sit down and negotiate a reasonable contract with the youngster. Monitor. Control and reinforce with minimal conflict.

This is something to be addressed. You will be happy you did.

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