Video games case study
Video games case study

High pressure parents risk ‘driving kids to gaming addiction’

A leading addiction expert has warned that high pressure parents could be driving their children to a video game dependency as they search for an outlet to ­relieve stress.

University of Sydney gaming expert Dr John Saunders said violent video games like Fortnite gave students who struggled to perform academically a sense of achievement and made them feel like they were good at something.


But Dr Saunders said a gaming disorder could lead to low bone density due to little sun exposure, low muscle strength, a decline in academic performance and violence when the technology was confiscated.

Clinical psychologist Dr Rose Cantali. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Clinical psychologist Dr Rose Cantali. Picture: Justin Lloyd

"Some kids have difficulty getting up out of a chair ­because their muscles are becoming atrophied," he said.

When an addicted child just looks at a video console, Dr Saunders said it triggered a response in the brain which was akin to when an addict had a hit of a drugs or a gambler wagers a bet.

He told The Daily Telegraph he has begun using Naltrexone on adults addicted to gaming in his clinical practice - the same drug used on heroin addicts.

Child psychologist and Screen Smart Kids director Rose Cantali said gaming continued to increase among young males.

"Because of what is happening with the self isolation of young people, we're going to find a lot more kids are going to come out of this ­addicted in some form or another," she said.

She predicted there would be more conflict between parents and children because of lock down measures meaning parents would realise the full extent of their child's gaming.

Mum Sharon Muir has a strict cut off for her kids William, 9, and Amber, 8.

"Usually the rule is after 5.30pm there are no tablets at all to let their brains calm down," she said.

Ms Muir instituted the rule after noticing how gaming ­affected their behaviour.

Originally published as High pressure parents risk 'driving kids to gaming addiction'