My 14-year-old spends all his time on-line. Is he a gaming addict? | Mother and father and parenting

My son is sort of 15 and my solely youngster. His father and I separated some years in the past they usually see one another repeatedly. My son additionally has a superb relationship with my associate, who has lived with us for a number of years. He has at all times excelled in school and is a gifted musician. When he was youthful he was assured and eloquent past his years; he might make buddies or have a dialog with anybody.

I’ve seen enormous adjustments in him. Earlier than Covid, he performed in a few bands in school and had made buddies with some older kids via faculty productions. With lockdown, these friendships melted away and even in school he has been unable to combine with totally different yr teams.

Within the first lockdown, my son retreated into a web-based gaming world and has not emerged. I’m now involved that he has a gaming habit: in the summertime holidays, he has barely come out of his room, apart from to eat. He’s in just about fixed communication with different avid gamers on-line, however I really feel these are usually not significant relationships.

I attempt to discuss to him most days about how he would possibly attempt to re-establish connections and friendships however he’s often dismissive of my recommendation. He has remained engaged together with his research and had glorious end-of-year grades, but the summer time holidays have introduced into sharper focus his social issues and reliance on on-line gaming.

I perceive your issues. Your longer letter painted an image of a vivid, fashionable boy who appears to have suffered a fracture together with his friendship teams and sought solace in gaming, which should appear very alien to you. Your son, like lots of people, will get on greatest in a mixed-age group. He might at all times have struggled with getting on with “simply” his friends. Lockdown – and Covid bubbles – highlighted this.

Let’s have a look at the positives. I consulted psychotherapist Rebecca Harris (, who specialises in gaming habit. She identified that your son continues to be going to high school, doing properly and coming down for meals – all good indicators. I realise that gaming, or something involving a web-based life, is terrifying for a lot of mother and father. However for plenty of folks it additionally has advantages.

“What we inform folks within the clinic to look out for,” says Harris, “are indicators that gaming has turn out to be problematic: somebody just isn’t in a position to cease or management it; considers gaming extra necessary than the rest; continues to be gaming regardless of unfavorable penalties.” It doesn’t appear as in case your son is at this stage.

“Your son stays engaged in his research, so he’s nonetheless in the actual world and might nonetheless give attention to issues apart from gaming. It seems that your son was effective, then lockdown occurred and he did a number of gaming – which isn’t uncommon. However then he went again to high school and the friendships didn’t come again. I ponder if that is extra to do together with his buddies.”

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Thanks on your suggestions.

In different phrases, maybe gaming is filling a void that was already there for him. Harris questioned whether it is helpful so that you can ask virtually every day what he’s doing concerning his friendships. “I ponder if that’s underlining the truth that nobody is looking him or [it seems] needs to see him, and whether or not that’s reinforcing the nervousness for each of you?” This might simply drive him extra into looking for security in his gaming world. Is there one other grownup who might verify gently what’s going on together with your son? His dad, your associate, or another person?

If you’re nonetheless apprehensive, contact the Nationwide Centre for Gaming Issues (electronic mail: ncba.cnwl@nhs.internet), to which anybody over 12 in England and Wales can refer themselves. Listed below are two helpful web sites: for serving to you navigate the net world; and, which has details about the video games.

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