Video Games

For children with social difficulties, whether it be Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, Gifted, and so on, there are some ways that parents can help improve social skills. This applies to any child, typical or not actually.  Children and adolescents that have trouble forming friendships often retreat into a world of video games, computer games, and television as this is a safe, predictable world that they can control. Interaction with others however is important. Parents need to keep their child involved in activities, social skill groups, the family and the community,  and not allow all his/her time outside of school to be electronic or alone. Social skills continue to develop through use and experience. Violent video games, movies, and television shows need to be avoided and/or limited. Exposure to these desensitizes children, and an overuse of them can blur the lines between reality and fantasy. Instead of learning healthy coping skills to handle anger, bullying, and stress, children believe that the methods they see in games are the way to handle problems.

Speak frequently with your child about the fantasy element of game playing, and about how to handle anger and frustration. Discuss problems they have and strategies they can use to manage them.  Teach and model coping skills- such as walking away, cooling off, thinking through what to say, and speaking respectfully with other people.  Provide a plan to handle anger, focusing on positive thoughts, and being responsible for your own actions. Role playing can be useful in practicing methods of handling stress and/or bullying.

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