Kid loves video game, spends lots and lots of time with it. Parent frets over kid, thinks offspring might've fallen prey to the bogeyman of video game addiction. It's a scenario that probably plays out in thousands of homes. Maybe even yours. One father went to Quora, where questions get asked and answered by site subscribers, to get some help.
The answers for the most part encourage the concerned dad to get some context and try and make some connections. One respondent tells about his own similar situation:
My 12yr old son has a set number of hours each day he is allowed 'free time'. As long as he does school, homework, shower, chores etc... his time is his to do as he pleases.
What pleases him most is Minecraft. I was thrilled when he started playing it because he quit playing Halo and Call of Duty in order to migrate over to the PC. "You mean you are building something and not shooting someone? Cool!"
The best answer comes, not surprisingly, from someone who plays a lot of games. Here's a snippet of Lemuel Pew's advice to Worried Dad:
Ask him what he is doing in the game. What are his goals? What is he trying to build? I'm sure your son would love to explain to you all the things he's doing in the game. Is he building a castle? Fighting off monsters? Did he just find a new cave and he's exploring it? Ask him. Learn about his hobby a little. You don't have to understand it all, but it opens a dialog and gives you a chance to communicate on his terms as well as yours.
Don't just unplug your kid, teach him how to unplug himself, and encourage him when he does.
These sharp, informed responses come as a breath of fresh air when compared to the histrionic panic attacks that so often surrounds conversations about video game addiction. Video games are no different than any other passion and the best thing to do is to see if there actually is a problem before sounding any alarms. What parents might actually find is that a child's passion for interactivity provides potential for a new kind of connection.
Image from DeviantArt user theevollutions