Summer Break and Preventing Excessive Screen Time
Updated: Jun 28, 2018
Hello MIP patients and families!
I played Fortnite this weekend. Ok, honestly I tried to play but was eliminated so fast I mostly just watched my son play. So many of my patients are into this new multiplayer game that I felt I had to check it out. I have had patients report spending hours and hours playing this or other online video games. It makes me wonder about the appeal of this game in particular, but also concerns me about online and video game addiction.
With school out, many young people are enjoying the unstructured leisurely days of summer. Ahhh, I miss those days! Although unstructured time is a healthy part of childhood, many young people will indulge excessively in screen time left to their own devices (pun intended). Whether gaming, social media, or just watching YouTube, we parents have our work cut out for us to prevent excessive screen time. Last summer I had 3 patients go to wilderness programs for video game addiction! Video game addiction has been formally recognized as a medical condition with treatment analogous to other addictions.
As with anything, “zero tolerance” is unlikely to succeed, so consider setting some firm guidelines and expectations for your family regarding summer screen time. Have a screen free day or weekend. Make an activities jar with hikes, projects and other activities contributed by all family members. Manufacture some forced family fun (thanks for the idea Jen!).
Enjoy the great Pacific Northwest and all it has to offer!