By: Michael Arrietta
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, can make focusing very difficult. This can create a problem because learning in a school environment is often less-than-thrilling. Video games, on the other hand, are incredibly exciting and constantly engaging. This kind of stimulation is exactly what someone with ADHD looks for and that is what makes it potentially dangerous. Because video games are so enjoyable and easy to focus on, children, teens, and even young adults in college may struggle with balancing gameplay with the real world. Whether you have ADHD or not, many video games can be addicting in nature, and misuse can lead to neglect of schoolwork and proper socialization.
Parents with young children may find that the best way to prevent a problem is to control and harness the games for good. The most important part of that would be limiting the playtime. Since that is likely to make your child not very happy, a way to turn it around is to offer playtime as a kind of reward. After finishing homework, doing chores, etc. allows extra time to play. This helps teach prioritizing, which will help once the child gets older.
Loosening the restrictions on a high school student could be very beneficial. At that point you want them to begin to establish their own boundaries. And of course, always be there to correct them if they abuse the freedom their given.
College presents another obstacle for people with ADHD. There is a sudden increase in freedom, responsibility, and workload. Nobody can stop you from skipping classes and playing video games all day. However, there are some easy tricks to ease the temptation. Try turning off the wireless on your computer so you can focus on your work. If that doesn’t work, you can always go someplace else to study, like a library or café.
All these guidelines might make video games seem like a hindrance to people with ADHD, but that’s not the case. As technology progresses and video games become less and less demonized in the public eye, we may soon see them being utilized more strongly in the education of children with ADHD. After all, educational games have massive potential as a learning supplement. On top of that, with a widespread emergence of social gaming, there no longer exists the stigma of the “anti-social gamer.”
Ultimately, video games are a powerful tool like any other. There is a right and a wrong way to use them, but when handled with care, I believe their potential is great.
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