Ex-gaming addict tells parents: Train your kids to have one-on-one talks

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

Peter Tanchi Jr., chief finance officer of Axeia Group of Companies and self-confessed former gaming addict, has advised parents to wean their kids away from gaming addiction and instead teach them how to have one-on-one conversations.

Peter Tanchi Jr.

A father of three and board member of Homeschool Global, Tanchi was one of the resource speakers at the National Digital Parenting Conference held at Novotel Manila in Quezon City on August 25.

Gaming, admitted Tanchi, has its benefits as it improves memory, mapping, strategizing, and problem-solving skills, among others. One can also make a career out of gaming. However, professional gamers do other things as well like sleep and work out while others become addicted to gaming and do little else but play video games.

According to the man who himself used to play games until the wee hours of the morning, the United Nations (UN) has officially acknowledged the existence of IGD or Internet Gaming Disorder. Both the UN and the World Health Organization have recently classified gaming addiction as a disorder.

“We lose that ability to communicate. Communication is not automatic. It has to be learned,” said Tanchi. “But how will you learn to dialogue with someone and look them in the eyes if you’re always looking at a screen?

“We need to train our kids to have this ability for one-on-one conversations,” he added. “People are far more interesting than a game.”

Tanchi shared the potential symptoms of gaming addiction: the person cannot stop playing, thinks about gaming all the time and finds everything else boring, exhibits frustration when he cannot use his digital device, spends an increasing amount of time with his device, sneaks in screen time, uses his device when he is having a bad day as if it is the only thing that will make him feel better, and is having serious problems with relationships such as with family members.

Gaming addiction leads to loss of creativity, sleep deprivation, and shallow relationships where one has many so-called “friends” and contacts online. It also creates in people an unrealistic world view, he said.

“Nowadays, kids don’t want to wait. In their mind, if they get a job, they want to be promoted tomorrow. If they’re not promoted tomorrow, then they find another job. That’s what games do,” explained Tanchi. “But life isn’t like that.”

To wean a child away from gaming addiction, he suggested the following:

• Be a role model at home by limiting your use of digital devices

• Build relationships with your children

• Let them undergo digital detoxification. A gaming addict thinks nothing else is fun. To rewire his brain, get him to stop gaming gradually – say for four weeks, then for 90 days, and so on.

• Get them into sports, reading, arts and crafts, and other activities

• Do things and learn new skills together – playing games, reading, cooking, cleaning, outdoors, movie
nights, and others

• Help them build real connections with their friends or via sports, the church, or youth groups

“Gaming is not gonna get less,” claimed Tanchi. “People believe that this industry will surpass the NBA someday.”

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