Like it or not, video games are a part of modern life, and many children love disappearing into the worlds inside a screen. Almost as many parents worry about where to set limits: What’s too much video game time for kids?
A lot of that answer depends upon your family’s culture. Some parents prefer children to stay active, and sharply curtail screen time, while others take a more liberal approach. While research suggests that behavioral issues can start to appear with children who play more than nine hours of video games a day – one hour on weekdays, two on weekends – many parents look for common signals that their child is playing too many video games, including:
- Irritability when not allowed to play games
- Preoccupation with next gaming session or game storylines
- Fatigue caused by trading sleep for game time
- Social isolation – choosing to play games over socializing with friends and family
- Lying to conceal time spent gaming
- Loss in interest in school work or other activities
Regardless of how many hours your child spends in front of a screen, these behaviors are signs of a budding video game addiction. Many parents put strict time limits on video game time, and place consoles and computers in public parts of the home to monitor that time. Consider leaving the large platforms – Xbox, Wii, etc. – out of your home to keep children insulated from game marketing that feeds these behaviors.