Controlling gaming

What to do if your tween is hooked on video games

Q: My 10-year-old son plays video games all the time. If I try to take them away, he just goes to a friend’s house and plays. Do you think he’s addicted? What can I do?

A: Loving video games is not, in itself, a problem. Some kids really get immersed in an activity for a while, be it music, sports or, yes, video games. The problem arises when the activity is simply all they do. Your job is to make sure there’s some balance in your son’s life. The first question to consider is whether he has friends, which it seems he does. How is he doing in school? Talk to his teachers to make sure his school work is not suffering. Let him know just how long he can play. Set a limit of, say, an hour or two on school days and three or four on weekends. Then work with him to find other activities that will interest him. You can’t control what he does at the homes of his friends, but you can encourage him to invite them to your place and arrange for other activities, such as going to the local swimming pool or skateboard park. If he’s healthy and otherwise happy, he will be just fine.