Dear Parent of a Teenage Gamer

You’ve asked about how many hours of online game playing is too much. Also, how to know if your teenager is addicted?

Firstly, families have different rules and standards when it comes to this. But a quick guideline is that more than 3 to 4 hours per day on gaming is definitely excessive. However, on a weekend when they are with friends this could be more. So here the guideline might be 15 hours a week is excessive.


The research we have read suggests this is a complex issue and there are positives and negatives to playing. For example, surprisingly playing games is actually good for their vision and their attention. This is also how many teens socialise with their friends. However, there are many examples where the playing is excessive and carries on despite clear negative consequences. The bottom line is that if the person is carrying on playing many hours of computer games / playstation despite clear negative consequences, then they are addicted.

Having a quick look at your son’s profile will tell if he’s doing reasonably well. Some students are playing regularly but their marks are fine, their teachers are happy with their effort and they are managing to balance their activities and have a social life.

Maybe you are seeing a different picture at home but if your son appears involved in his music and sport, he doesn’t have any demerits this year and he has friends those are all good signs.

However, good parenting suggests that you continue to regulate the amount of gaming that happens and contract with him that if you see negative consequences (academic, physical, sporting, emotional etc.) that you limit this.

There are lots of resources and articles on “Digital Addiction” and from the BSU side we will be posting more on this issue. A balanced approach would seem to be that while gaming has benefits and negative consequences, working out what is best for your child is most important. For example, if your child has ADHD then the research suggests they are more at risk for addiction. The answer for them might not be banning playing entirely, but helping them to regulate their usage, and shifting their interest beyond the screen. As Randy Kulman at the online magazine ADDitude says …

“… it is critical to help children glean more from playing games like Fortnite by transforming game-based learning into real-world skills. You might find that talking to your child about gameplay nurtures your relationship and motivates him to reflect on the thinking skills he uses in gameplay. Expanding his interest beyond screen-based play is your ultimate goal.”

You can find the article here.

Some other resources:

How Fortnite Battle Royale became a worldwide obsession (video from The New Yorker)


How to escape Video Game Addiction