April 18th, 2022

"What happens when you have an active, involved kid with good grades, who wants to play video games for three straight hours a day, every day? A father came to me with this dilemma. He explained, “My son is in 7th grade, plays on two sports teams and is an overall good kid, but I still think three hours is too much time. When he asks me why, I struggled to come up with a good reason.”

What are some good reasons? There are many, and I thought this would be a great time to share this dad’s question with colleagues who I recently spoke with on a panel at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Each of them works with families around curbing excessive video game use.
Psychiatrist and Gaming Addiction Specialist, Dr. Clifford Sussman makes this point, “The more time one spends online, especially in one sitting, the more a process called downregulation causes a drop in the number of dopamine receptors in the reward processing area of the brain. This causes a decrease in our ability to feel pleasure, resulting in a need to seek more stimulation.”

Dr. David Greenfield, Founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction says “Although performing well in major life-spheres is often a key contraindication of Internet or video game addiction there are other issues and neurobiological consequences that may be more subtle, but nevertheless impactful.” He adds,“Heavy use seems to have several negative impacts (including getting less sleep) perhaps the largest imbalance in our use of time which we all have limited amount of.”"

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