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Pediatrician warns parents to how much time kids spend gaming

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jun 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-18 20:55:45-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Bright colors, flashing lights, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide— kids and adults spend countless hours glued to the screen. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that gaming addiction is a legitimate diagnosis.

Two or three hours a day of gaming is no problem, according to a University of Kansas Hospital Pediatrician, Dr. Steve Lauer. But Lauer believes more than three hours a day of gaming could lead to a gaming addiction.

"A person who has an addiction really doesn't have control over it and it becomes this craving where they have to do more to feel good about themselves and then there have to be negative consequences. It’s disruptive to them, it’s disruptive to their family-life, their work-life," said Lauer.

At SoPro Gaming in Overland Park, gaming is educational. They have gaming camps that teach internet safety and security, computer science coding, typing, math, and video game design. They also work on team play in gaming. Eric Nunn is a gamer at SoPro Gaming, a parent and a strong defender of gaming.

"Not all games are 'shoot 'em up and kill' games, not all games are like that. You have Minecraft, that’s a puzzle game, and you have problem-solving games," said Nunn.

Nunn also said he has seen how children who've been bullied come in and start playing video games with other gamers. He said they come in shy and quiet.

"But when they get on a video game and they get on with friends who are going through a similar experience, they won’t stop talking. They’re sharing. They’re communicating," Nunn explained.

Lauer agreed that playing video games can be positive and educational but he advises parents keep track of how much time their children spend playing video games because it's easier to create good habits than try to correct bad habits.

"Monitoring that time making sure your children are doing something else with their time some of the time and also helping them to have those family activities that are together where it kept them out of that one on one interaction with the screen," said Dr. Lauer.

Dr. Lauer said that if gaming is taking over a person's life,  that's when it's time to see a counselor or psychologist and get help.