Do you think, for children who are susceptible to this kind of video game addiction, that television watching is less damaging (particularly if it is educational tv)?
And is cold turkey better or trying to teach moderation? Is cold turkey possible or realistic once a child knows they like this type of thing? Is an hour a day several days a week preferable to one day a week for several hours or vice versa?
I have so many questions about this. I think our family is prone to this, including me, my husband, and my kids. My 8 yo wrote an answer to describing his perfect day "24 hours of video games." I will definitely be looking for this book.
Television can be abused but it doesn't seem to have the same outcome for people that gaming does. Part of this is like I explained above, television and video games trigger different areas of the brain. The immersiveness of video games seems to code in the brain the same way reality codes. Scary right?
Cold turkey, or a period of cold turkey is often necessary to reset the brain. Dopamine receptors will increase again and dopamine levels will return to normal sensitivity with time.
If someone is, in the true sense or the word, addicted to video games though what tends to happen is what happens with drugs. When they return to using again the moderation isn't maintained and they return to extreme use again. Kids that are just showing some effects of tech can usually learn to moderate with solid boundaries from parents.
If grades are suffering, the child is rushing through work to get to tech, lying about doing work, unfocused, distracted etc then only allow tech on weekends. Maintain no more than 2 to 3 hours max of tech per day on weekends even if no playing is happening during the week days.
I would say no more than 2. Kids will kick, bargain, give the silent treatment, let it be known how unfair it is. They will make deals that they will do what is expected (homework, chores, time with family etc) for more time. This never goes well. Hold the line.
If your kids are younger you have time to get control of it. Teen years is often when it unravels.
I would never allow tech in the bedroom. Keep it in the common area. Once tech leaves your site it is much harder to reign in once you need to.
My other word of advice is never use external motivators/star charts and incentives for kids slacking off due to tech. Tech kills internal motivation and so does external rewards. It is ingrained in our society to use external rewards and it has long term negative effects.
You can google intrinsic motivation and external rewards and get enough research to read to help you understand why this is. I will give you a fun analogy though:
One day a man looked out on his lawn to see all of the kids in his neighborhood playing in his yard. Every day it was the same way. He told them to leave, asked them nicely but without fail they would end up in his large yard. One day he decides to pay them. He went out and offered them 5 dollars a piece to play in his yard. They were so excited. Every day they showed up and every day he paid them. The next week he paid them 3 dollars. Some of the kids stopped coming but some returned. The next week he paid them a dollar. Again, some didn't come back but a couple did. The next week he didn't pay them. They never came back.