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How to get rid of computer addiction in adolescents and children: advice from a psychologist

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Computers have become an integral part of our lives.

Computers have become an integral part of our lives. They help in achieving career growth, study, provide an opportunity to communicate with friends and relatives.

Diagnosis or hobby?

There is no consensus on this. The international classification of diseases does not contain the diagnosis “computer addiction”, although the question of including this term in the list is raised every year. But many doctors are inclined to consider computer dependence to be just a disease, along with alcoholism and drug addiction. In Germany, an experiment was conducted in which two dozen people were shown screenshots of their favorite computer games. The reaction of people turned out to be identical to that observed among alcoholics and drug addicts when they are shown a bottle of alcohol or a dose of the drug.

According to statistics, 12 out of every 7,000 people are addicted to online computer games. 19% of the 250 million Facebook users admitted that they feel gaming addiction.

The most addictive cause network games. In 2005, a teenage girl died in China from exhaustion. She played World of Warcraft for several days. A year later, in Bashkiria, a 17-year-old boy died from an epileptic seizure that developed on the basis of a multi-hour computer game. The sad statistics can go on and on, because such cases have recently become more frequent.

It is not a secret that schoolchildren who have replayed bloody shooters can organize massacres in real life. Shots and massacres are occasionally arranged by American and Japanese schoolchildren.

The passion for computer games is not in itself dangerous. But when does it become addicted? The main signs that your child is a gamer or a victim of Internet addiction:

  • He began to communicate less on abstract topics. All conversations are around your favorite game.
  • He is not interested in studying, he stopped attending sections, or does so extremely reluctantly.
  • All free time the child spends at the computer. Any attempts to force him to turn off the technique lead to scandal. Attempts by parents to limit time behind the monitor cause bouts of crying, rage, and hysterics in a child.
  • The baby has become more irritable, his mood changes often and for no reason - from excitement he easily moves to the depressive blues.
  • He does not know how to control his time spent at the computer. He says that he will play for two hours, but he can sit much longer.
  • The child has ceased to look after himself - without a reminder, he can forget to wash, brush his teeth, change clothes.
  • He has no friends left. He almost does not communicate with anyone.
  • Your child has “gaps in memory”. Suffer short-term memory, he may not remember what he said or promised a few hours ago.

If you find at least three coincidences in this list, this is a reason to take urgent action. On the Internet, there are now special tests that allow, after filling out a questionnaire, to understand how great the risk of developing computer addiction is. They are largely subjective, and do not allow one hundred percent diagnosis, but a general idea of ​​the problem will be helpful.

At the computer like to sit almost all the children. But why do some develop addictions, while others do not? Why is it easy for some children to conduct behavioral correction and difficult for others? It's all about the personal characteristics of your offspring - in his temperament, level of self-esteem, type of organization of the nervous system.

If a teenager is not self-confident, he has little communication outside the home - he is very likely to become addicted to online communication. There he will find what he lacks in life.

Children with a high level of anxiety and fears often “sit down” on heroic computer epics. They like to identify themselves as the all-powerful character of the game, who kills hordes of monsters with one left hand. In this case, the child compensates for the lack of courage and decisiveness in reality.

Game developers are well aware of this, and every year they improve their product more and more - high-quality sound, 3D graphics, the effect of presence ... Everything is created so that inside the game a person feels “truly”. The child's psyche is more labile, it is easier to captivate them than adults, they quickly believe in what is happening. That is why every adult who suffers from computer addiction in our country now has more than 20 children with the same problem.

What really happens? The child ceases to perceive the world as before. As computer addiction develops, it loses the best human qualities - empathy, love, honesty.

The most dependent on gadgets are:

  • Children suffering from attention deficit. Parents spend little time with them, and then their peers ignore them. The best prevention in this case is love and participation in the child's life.
  • Children - choleric and children - melancholic. Their perception of the world and without computers is special. The guys with such temperaments easier than others "get used to" the proposed circumstances.
  • Children from "problem" families. We are talking about families where domestic violence is practiced — scandals, beatings, and coercion. And even if the victim of violence is another family member, the child will psychologically seek to escape from this uncomfortable reality into another. Why not virtual? The same applies in part to families where parents have recently been divorced, and it is still difficult for a child to accept change.
  • Children, not accustomed to take care of time. If a child has not been taught rationally to manage his time since childhood, then by 10-12 years he will have too many free minutes and hours. He sincerely believes that the obligation to clean the room or take out the garbage can be put off until later. In virtuality, it's much more interesting to spend time. Without parental control, such children will not strike a finger at the housework, but they will sit at the computer with great pleasure.
  • Children suffering from complexes. A girl who does not like her own appearance, in a computer game, gets a chance to become a beautiful warrior. A shy and timid boy manages to be a victorious hero. The game fills the voids in the child's soul, and gradually it ceases to be itself, but becomes a character in the game.

Computer addiction can lead to very dire consequences:

  • Social isolation, lack of a child's ability to communicate and negotiate.
  • Nervous and mental personality disorders - psychosis, clinical depression, hysteria, schizophrenia.
  • Difficulty learning, lack of motivation.
  • Associative behavior, lack of understanding of the boundaries of what is permitted, including the law. As a result, the child may become a criminal.
  • Diseases: gastritis, poor posture, hemorrhoids, chronic fatigue syndrome, exhaustion of the whole organism, peptic ulcer and duodenal ulcer, myopia, glaucoma, "dry eye syndrome", hyperopia, display syndrome.

There are several ways to help your child get rid of computer addiction. But you should consider the degree of addiction. In some cases, parents can help their child themselves, and in some need the help of specialists.

Educational conversation

A great way at the very initial stages of addiction. It is important to understand the causes of addiction. Why is the child on the other side of the monitor better than you? The most common mistake is to start lecturing about the dangers of a computer, to make trouble and appeal to the conscience of a child. This will only annoy him. Try to become a "colleague".

Spend the evening with his son in his favorite game. Play with him, chat. Let him tell you about all the characters and their capabilities. In the course of virtual adventures, carefully ask the child why he likes to be this hero and not others? Why does he need so many weapons? Who is he fighting with? Contact will be made, perhaps not the first time. But when you understand for yourself what attracts a son or daughter in a game, you will be able to plan his leisure time a little differently, incorporating into it the very thing that is missing.

Today it is the most common way to deal with computer addiction in both children and adults. An experienced psychoanalyst will help uncover the true root causes of care in another, virtual world. Sometimes, after just one session, the specialist will accurately determine which family problems, personal complexes, moral trauma are pushing the child into a different space and dimension. Parents are encouraged to participate in therapy.

If you take the whole family with a sincere desire to change something in your life, the result will be positive. The main condition is that parents should be ready to make changes in their own way of life, habits and character. Psychoanalytic services are not cheap. But this method is effective when the addiction has long overstepped the initial stage.

Psychotherapists started treating computer addiction with hypnosis about ten years ago. Experience gained enough. Hypnologist introduces the child to a trance (with the consent of the parents) and gently gives him psycho-attitudes towards indifference to computer games and communication on the Internet. Alcoholics code this way.

but you should not think that hypnosis is a panacea. First, not all people are hypnotic, and secondly, the symptoms of dependence may disappear, but their hidden reasons remain. And then the child, from whose life computer games have gone, will begin to fill the voids with something else. Not the fact that something good and useful. Other pathological conditions can replace a computer addiction, from theft to drugs.

Often, to get rid of computer addiction (especially at the "neglected" stages) use drug treatment. Prescription drugs are prescribed by a doctor. Usually, this happens when a child has personality disorders, depression, anxiety. Specialist prescribes antidepressants, sedatives.

It must be said right away that it is impossible to get rid of tablets and injections from computer addiction alone, since they cure again the consequences, not the cause. Like it or not, without psychological assistance and rehabilitation is not enough. Yes, and the use of psychotropic drugs has never brought great benefit to the child's body.

  • If you find a computer addiction in a child, do not panic. You can frighten him with your reaction and drive him even deeper into a detached state. Analyze the situation and make a plan out of it.
  • Do not scream, do not blame your child. It's not his fault. In the end, didn't we ourselves, once gave him a gadget in our hands, in order to occupy it for a while? Take responsibility for yourself and be patient. Computer addiction is not retreating quickly.
  • Find a good time to talk with your son or daughter. Look for the reason for his voluntary departure in virtuality.
  • Offer your child interesting ways to spend your leisure time. Remember, they must be consonant with the cause of addiction. If a timid child is fond of games to feel all-powerful, give him to the boxing section, karate, organize a parachute jump. If a teenager lacks sharp impressions in everyday life, suggest to go on a weekend together and play paintball or take part in an interactive quest in reality. Now they are common. There, the child will be able to feel like the same hero, but for real. If your son or daughter has problems with communication, enroll the child in the drama school, on dance courses, anywhere, where the principle “we are a team” operates.

  • Set goals for the dependent child. And gradually accustom him to set goals on his own and go to them.
  • You should not forbid him to sit at the computer or to take away the gadget from him, trying to disaccustom by force from the tablet. This will cause aggression and resentment. And these feelings are not conducive to establishing contact.
  • Label the child’s responsibilities. Lessons, cleaning, walking the dog, taking out the trash. Do not be afraid to overload it. Nobody died from household chores. Encourage, but not extra time at the computer. Install the reward system yourself. What could it be? A little money that a child can save for his dream sneakers or something else that he wants.
  • Computer addiction is rapidly getting younger. If 10 years ago, 14-16-year-old adolescents suffered from it, now you can meet mothers who complain that they cannot drive out their 4-5 year old baby because of the monitor. If the child is not yet 10 years old, try to strictly dose the time spent in the game. Preferably, no more than half an hour per day. And the best way to find an alternative occupation, the computer is not the best toy for young children.
  • Be prepared to change yourself. Together with your child you will jump with a parachute, learn roller skates, go fishing or dancing. Remember that it alone can not cope with addiction.
  • Do not relax. As in the treatment of alcoholism or drug addiction, the patient may have relapses, breakdowns. It seemed that the child was able to distract from the “tanchiki” and “war”, but you quarreled, and he again moves away, trying to hide in the game.

Enemy need to know in person

Parents whose children are overly passionate about the Internet and games need to know which games cause the strongest addiction and crippling the psyche.

In this list, according to experts, The Sims, horror Five Nights at Freddy’s, Second Life, Prototype, Left 4 Dead 2, Fallout 3, Splatterhouse and World of Warcraft. Recently, children and adolescents are heading into "World of Tanks».

“Tanks” are not as bloody as “Splatterhouse”, where severed limbs, skin torn from enemies is the norm, not savagery, but they have their own nuances. The game "Tanks" requires cash investments - because the technique needs to be improved ("pumped"). Where does the child take the money? Correct, with parents. And if they do not, they can steal it from outsiders, because the desire to have the coolest tank at this moment is stronger than common sense. I saw adult men who “invest” most of their income in tanks without thinking about their families, children, and obligations. What to say about teenagers? Take your time, ask what your child is playing, try to play it yourself, find out the enemy as much as possible.

If a child has internet addiction, you need to be alert every day. Fraudsters, pedophiles, perverts of all stripes lately lurk children not in the gateway at home, but on the Internet. See which groups in your social networks your child is. Did he get into the so-called death group? These are communities where teens are trained to commit suicide. Are there any unfamiliar adults among his contacts?

About the security code in the social network, see the School of Dr. Komarovsky.

It would be unfair to write all computer games into malicious. Of course, there are educational games that develop logic, thinking, memory.

So, my eldest son at one time studied the English alphabet. He was helped in this by Winnie the Pooh from a game marked 3+. When I noticed that my son in 3rd grade instead of lessons, he concentratedly destroys another batch of bloody zombies in Left 4 Dead from a shotgun, and answered the question “where can we go on a day off?” “Can I stay at home?” - or now, or never. The son by that time, by the way, weighed under 70 kilos, suffered from obesity of the first stage, and did not want to go to any sections in principle. He had only to turn away, as he grabbed his dinner plate and went to eat at the computer. As a gift for the holidays I asked for a new game or another disc with the continuation of the game ...

So I brought him to the cadet school, where he put on his military uniform, learned to run and pull up, jump with a parachute and disassemble the Kalashnikov machine gun. At first, capricious, of course, incredibly, suffered and complained. When in the fifth grade he declared that he would be a military man, we were hardly surprised. He is now 17. He graduated with honors from the Stavropol Presidential Cadet School. Learns three foreign languages. This summer I intend to enroll in a higher military school. His dream is to become a scout.

Peers who spend their free time playing computer games are not called a very printed word and wonder how he could sit at the computer for so long. Now I am grateful to fate that I was able to see the symptoms of the onset of addiction on time and quickly block it. Now I look at the middle son. So far there is no question of dependence, but I am always ready.

Once an old acquaintance called me and burst out with a long and detailed text on the topic “How to live further?”. They say that “this idiot” will not achieve anything in life, because besides “the company” he does not need anything. He spends all his free time there and does not want to hear anything. It was about her 13-year-old son. Мое воображение сразу нарисовало самые мрачные образы, и я пообещала заехать на днях и поговорить с подростком.

Миша меня встретил унылым подобием улыбки. Было видно, как он измучен постоянными упреками и даже истериками со стороны мамы. I went to the table and, to my surprise, found on it books on programming and graphic design. A few questions were enough to understand - the child does not play at the computer. He works for him. With great difficulty, I managed to convince him to at least slightly reduce the time spent behind the monitor, and my girlfriend - to leave the teenager alone. Now Misha is studying at the university, he will soon become a programmer. He is already the recipient of a presidential scholarship and a regular of all kinds of IT-events and meetings of all-Russia scale.

Conclusion - do not rush to hang on the child the labels "gamers", "dependent", "sick" ... Understand, understand what your child wants and dreams of.. He has a dependency or not - you will understand quite quickly, and spoiled relations and broken contact with a teenager will cause a lot of trouble. The main thing is to love a child, to take it with all its strange and hobbies. But at the same time, from love, not to go blind, and in time to see the symptoms of impending disaster. If computers have already begun to “absorb” the identity of your son or daughter, do not hesitate to ask for the help of specialists.

Communicate with parents of other children who have fallen into tenacious virtual feet, share their experiences. To defeat this dependence can and should be. But to do this is real only for everyone together, by joining forces.

Watch the following videos of GuberniaTV and Channel One about computer addiction in children.


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How does computer addiction arise?

In fact, explaining the cause of computer addiction is quite simple. Role-playing games are considered the most dangerous in this whole environment, where a child or teenager is transferred to virtual reality, in which he plays his role, has certain skills, levels of strength and skill, and the game itself is filled with serious plot, real enemies and threats.

Puzzle-type toys, on the speed of reaction, arcades do not cause such a reaction, they are, in principle, not dangerous for the human psyche. But the game in which the player sees the computer world through the eyes of his character, contributes to the loss of the connection between virtuality and reality, to pass it becomes almost the meaning of life.

But why does this happen anyway? Why does the child so much "sit down" on this kind of entertainment? The opinion of psychologists on this subject is almost the same for everyone; they believe that a person is getting used to the feeling of happiness.

The thing is that the child in the process of the game experiences only strong and positive emotions - the joy of victories, adrenaline, which lead to the release of a real hormone of pleasure.

He causes very similar processes that take place in the head of an ordinary drug addict. By the way, it is boys who are more susceptible to computer addiction, who have more than girls, have a developed sense of leadership, rivalry and excitement.

How does a child experience gambling addiction?

If to speak a scientific language, the gaming addiction is called cyber-diction. Most often, it affects those children who lack the attention of parents, as well as the lack of communication with their peers.

Every day, more and more in the world of computer games, the child forgets about how to communicate in the real world, it is more convenient for them to be in the game, because there they can be the strongest, most powerful and unmanaged, something you cannot find among your peers. If such a process progresses, the unstable psyche of the child experiences problems with self-identification, after which a split personality begins, the person begins to confuse the real and virtual world.

Another symptom of gambling addiction is nervous breakdowns, anger and aggression on the part of the child, when they are trying to distract him from the game, he is not interested in anything and does not want to, and by returning to the computer, one can observe a rise in mood and spirit.

In addition to psychological problems, physical problems can also arise: spinal curvature, vision problems, frequent headaches and back pains. An addicted person tries to devote all his time to the game, he begins to neglect hygiene, throws household chores and responsibilities, begins to learn poorly, skips workouts and clubs, and also tries to compensate for the lack of play due to his own sleep.

All this leads to the fact that the child becomes completely alienated from the real world, he completely loses the ability to communicate with other people.

How to get rid of computer addiction?

  • The most interesting, but in this situation, the best helper is talking. Of course, one cannot do without introducing restrictions, developing a new daily diet, but all this can be done by constantly communicating with the child, explaining why now everything will be different.
  • Of course, if your child is only 10-12 years old, then he can still try to ban something, but if we are dealing with a teenager, then the restrictions here are unlikely to work.
  • As we have said, children are mostly immersed in virtual reality due to lack of attention from their parents, they can be constantly busy at work or solving their life worries, but no excuse from an adult can help in the treatment of computer addiction.

Surprisingly, most older children are aware of their problem, sometimes even trying to deal with it, but alone they will not work.

  • Try to take your child, organize family dinners, raids on nature and the sea, engage in sports education of your child, because when playing sports all the same hormones of joy stand out as when playing computer games.
  • Enter a limit on computer games, for example, no more than one hour per day, and the main occupation behind him is the preparation of homework assignments and essays.
  • Set your own example, do not sit at the computer more than it should be, better take the time to your family. If you see that you can not cope on your own, then contact a psychologist for help. Pre-tune the child in a positive way, this campaign should not be a punishment for him, rather, another informative moment.

Do not worry, your case is far from the first, so professionals know exactly how to work with such children.

Effects

Computer addiction can lead to very dire consequences:

  • Social isolation, lack of a child's ability to communicate and negotiate.
  • Nervous and mental personality disorders - psychosis, clinical depression, hysteria, schizophrenia.
  • Difficulty learning, lack of motivation.
  • Associative behavior, lack of understanding of the boundaries of what is permitted, including the law. As a result, the child may become a criminal.
  • Diseases: gastritis, poor posture, hemorrhoids, chronic fatigue syndrome, exhaustion of the whole organism, peptic ulcer and duodenal ulcer, myopia, glaucoma, "dry eye syndrome", hyperopia, display syndrome.

There are several ways to help your child get rid of computer addiction. But you should consider the degree of addiction. In some cases, parents can help their child themselves, and in some need the help of specialists.

Psychoanalysis

Today it is the most common way to deal with computer addiction in both children and adults. An experienced psychoanalyst will help uncover the true root causes of care in another, virtual world. Sometimes, after just one session, the specialist will accurately determine which family problems, personal complexes, moral trauma are pushing the child into a different space and dimension. Parents are encouraged to participate in therapy.

If you take the whole family with a sincere desire to change something in your life, the result will be positive. The main condition is that parents should be ready to make changes in their own way of life, habits and character. Psychoanalytic services are not cheap. But this method is effective when the addiction has long overstepped the initial stage.

Psychotherapists started treating computer addiction with hypnosis about ten years ago. Experience gained enough. Hypnologist introduces the child to a trance (with the consent of the parents) and gently gives him psycho-attitudes towards indifference to computer games and communication on the Internet. Alcoholics code this way.

but you should not think that hypnosis is a panacea. First, not all people are hypnotic, and secondly, the symptoms of dependence may disappear, but their hidden reasons remain. And then the child, from whose life computer games have gone, will begin to fill the voids with something else. Not the fact that something good and useful. Other pathological conditions can replace a computer addiction, from theft to drugs.

Medicines

Often, to get rid of computer addiction (especially at the "neglected" stages) use drug treatment. Prescription drugs are prescribed by a doctor. Usually, this happens when a child has personality disorders, depression, anxiety. Specialist prescribes antidepressants, sedatives.

It must be said right away that it is impossible to get rid of tablets and injections from computer addiction alone, since they cure again the consequences, not the cause. Like it or not, without psychological assistance and rehabilitation is not enough. Yes, and the use of psychotropic drugs has never brought great benefit to the child's body.

Psychologist tips

  • If you find a computer addiction in a child, do not panic. You can frighten him with your reaction and drive him even deeper into a detached state. Analyze the situation and make a plan out of it.
  • Do not scream, do not blame your child. It's not his fault. In the end, didn't we ourselves, once gave him a gadget in our hands, in order to occupy it for a while? Take responsibility for yourself and be patient. Computer addiction is not retreating quickly.
  • Find a good time to talk with your son or daughter. Look for the reason for his voluntary departure in virtuality.
  • Offer your child interesting ways to spend your leisure time. Remember, they must be consonant with the cause of addiction. If a timid child is fond of games to feel all-powerful, give him to the boxing section, karate, organize a parachute jump. If a teenager lacks sharp impressions in everyday life, suggest to go on a weekend together and play paintball or take part in an interactive quest in reality. Now they are common. There, the child will be able to feel like the same hero, but for real. If your son or daughter has problems with communication, enroll the child in the drama school, on dance courses, anywhere, where the principle “we are a team” operates.

  • Set goals for the dependent child. And gradually accustom him to set goals on his own and go to them.
  • You should not forbid him to sit at the computer or to take away the gadget from him, trying to disaccustom by force from the tablet. This will cause aggression and resentment. And these feelings are not conducive to establishing contact.
  • Label the child’s responsibilities. Lessons, cleaning, walking the dog, taking out the trash. Do not be afraid to overload it. Nobody died from household chores. Encourage, but not extra time at the computer. Install the reward system yourself. What could it be? A little money that a child can save for his dream sneakers or something else that he wants.
  • Computer addiction is rapidly getting younger. If 10 years ago, 14-16-year-old adolescents suffered from it, now you can meet mothers who complain that they cannot drive out their 4-5 year old baby because of the monitor. If the child is not yet 10 years old, try to strictly dose the time spent in the game. Preferably, no more than half an hour per day. And the best way to find an alternative occupation, the computer is not the best toy for young children.
  • Be prepared to change yourself. Together with your child you will jump with a parachute, learn roller skates, go fishing or dancing. Remember that it alone can not cope with addiction.
  • Do not relax. As in the treatment of alcoholism or drug addiction, the patient may have relapses, breakdowns. It seemed that the child was able to distract from the “tanchiki” and “war”, but you quarreled, and he again moves away, trying to hide in the game.

Other extremes

Once an old acquaintance called me and burst out with a long and detailed text on the topic “How to live further?”. They say that “this idiot” will not achieve anything in life, because besides “the company” he does not need anything. He spends all his free time there and does not want to hear anything. It was about her 13-year-old son. My imagination immediately painted the darkest images, and I promised to drop in the other day and talk to the teenager.

Misha met me with a sad smile. It was evident how he was tormented by constant reproaches and even hysterics from his mother. I went to the table and, to my surprise, found on it books on programming and graphic design. A few questions were enough to understand - the child does not play at the computer. He works for him. With great difficulty, I managed to convince him to at least slightly reduce the time spent behind the monitor, and my girlfriend - to leave the teenager alone. Now Misha is studying at the university, he will soon become a programmer. He is already the recipient of a presidential scholarship and a regular of all kinds of IT-events and meetings of all-Russia scale.

Conclusion - do not rush to hang on the child the labels "gamers", "dependent", "sick" ... Understand, understand what your child wants and dreams of.. He has a dependency or not - you will understand quite quickly, and spoiled relations and broken contact with a teenager will cause a lot of trouble. The main thing is to love a child, to take it with all its strange and hobbies. But at the same time, from love, not to go blind, and in time to see the symptoms of impending disaster. If computers have already begun to “absorb” the identity of your son or daughter, do not hesitate to ask for the help of specialists.

Communicate with parents of other children who have fallen into tenacious virtual feet, share their experiences. To defeat this dependence can and should be. But to do this is real only for everyone together, by joining forces.

Watch the following videos of GuberniaTV and Channel One about computer addiction in children.

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