For Treatment Providers
Information is provided below for treatment providers and behavior health professions which includes recommended screen time guidelines and video gaming addiction, and how to obtain RGANM resources for your office.
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Screen Time Guidelines
Children today are surrounded by video games, tablets and cell phones, television, and other digital devices. The American Academy of Pediatricians says that any benefit of media for children under two years is very limited, and there is evidence excessive digital media use can be harmful to a child under two.
From two to five years of age, just 30 minutes or less of screen time should be allowed, and then with a parent who can reteach the content. From age five to 12, 30 minutes is still the recommended maximum screen time, as children should be engaged in activities that encourage physical, emotional and educational development. Over the age of 12, two hours is the maximum; some studies suggest that four hours or more per day causes harm to the child’s developing brain.
Printable Screen Time Guideline Chart: https://www.eyepromise.com/blog/screen-time-chart/
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/24-04-2019-to-grow-up-healthy-children-need-to-sit-less-and-play-more
American Academy of Pediatrics:
Guide to Screen Addictions and Responsible Digital Use:
Screen Time Guidelines:
Video Gaming Addiction
The following is a summary of information provided by Cam Adair, who describes himself as a video game addict for more than a decade. He founded www.gamequitters.com to provide help to others; it serves 75,000 members monthly from 95 countries. Please visit his site for additional information.
Video game addiction, recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization, is characterized by impaired control over gaming, having gaming take precedence over other activities, and a continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
A gaming disorder test is available here. http://www.do-i-play-too-much-videogames.com/
Male adolescents are most at risk for video game addiction. Thirty hours a week spent video gaming should be considered a red flag; 70 hours a week or more indicates a likely problem. Games use behavioral psychology to keep players immersed; the hyper-stimulation provides a release of dopamine, the pleasure-inducing chemical neurotransmitter that plays a part in addictions.
Adair cautions about so-called educational games marketed for children. He encourages parents to monitor the game, looking for situations where not spending money in the game play is considered wrong or shameful, or that include manipulative advertising targeted to kids within the game. Games with loot boxes, in which the contents of the surprise box are not revealed until after the player’s purchase, are psychologically similar to gambling.
If you have allowed your child to purchase loot boxes or allow micro-transactions within the games, be sure to set spending notifications so there are no surprises on credit card statements.
GameQuitters.com offers a masterclass for treatment providers, https://gamequitters.com/masterclass/, a training guide for parents and family members https://gamequitters.com/reclaim/, and a guide for gamers. https://gamequitters.com/respawn/
Online Gamers Anonymous, https://www.olganon.org/home, also offers online support groups and assistance. Game Quitters offers Facebook pages for youth: https://www.facebook.com/GameQuitters/ and a group that parents can join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/234660037000181/
More Helpful Links
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/features/qa/gaming-disorder/en/
American Psychiatric Association: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/internet-gaming
American Academy of Pediatrics: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx
Materials for Your Office
The Responsible Gaming Association of New Mexico offers materials that may be of interest to behavioral health providers related to the prevention and treatment of problem gambling.
Materials include small posters for display, wallet cards with online and 24/7 telephone helpline, and brochures relevant to young people, seniors, and everyone who engages in gambling activities. For information on ordering materials, please email email@example.com.
Some of our video materials may also be helpful. They can be found on our home page video player.
We also encourage treatment providers to access the National Council on Problem Gambling and their helpful screening tools. https://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/screening-tools/
The Responsible Gaming Association invites treatment providers to join our newsletter list in order to receive updates about future problem gambling conferences. Scroll down and enter your information below.
Watch our 30-minute documentary on RGANM and the compulsive gambling resources that are available.
Gambling Help Line
There Is Hope
“If you are dealing with addiction issues, if you’re dealing with gambling issues, I want to let you know that there is hope. First of all there are people, programs, resources that will allow you to share what you are dealing with; what you are going through. There are so many resources. Try them all and find something that works.”
~ JJ Otero
Responsible Gambling Tips
- Gambling is paid entertainment that you are paying for, so treat the money you lose as the cost of your entertainment
- Don’t think of gambling as a way to make money
- Set a money limit
- Set a time limit & take regular breaks
- Only bring the cash you are willing to lose and leave ATM and credit cards at home
- Don’t leave credit cards or ATM cards in the car
- Expect to lose
- Don’t gamble when you are depressed or upset
- Balance gambling with other activities
- Gambling and alcohol are proven to not be a good combination
- Don’t chase losses
- Avoid becoming too superstitious
- Never fall for the gambler’s fallacy
- Learn the rules and odds of the games
- Educate yourself about problem gambling
- Don’t play with money you don’t have
- Don’t use your credit card to gamble
- Don’t increase your betting to make up for money you lost
- Don’t use gambling as a way to cope with stress, loneliness, or depression
- Never gamble with important money such as rent money
- If you are thinking about gambling all day long, get help
- If you are lying to others about your gambling, get help
- Never borrow money from others just to gamble
- Do not gamble to escape your problems or to ignore your responsibilities
- Gambling to pay off a gambling debt does not work
- It’s a sign of a problem if you are quitting your job or favorite hobbies to gamble
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