A seemingly ever-present cloud over today’s youth, video games are more popular than ever. They’re easy to access, accessible to nearly all ages, and can keep children from the very young to older adolescents entertained for hours. And with the advent of online multiplayer, video games have become an important social touchstone, especially when physical interaction is impossible, discouraged, or simply un-desirable. What’s not to love about video games?
The answer, of course, is a lot. Studies have found “0.3% to 1% of the general population fit the criteria for an IGD (Internet Gaming Disorder) diagnosis”. 8.5% of U.S kids are addicted to gaming, an addiction that can lead to a multiple of symptoms like erratic sleep, drastic mood changes, and even weight fluctuations. “Gaming disorder” has even been classified as an actual disorder by the World Health Organization, though the rest of the international health community is not in complete agreement.
As great of a distraction or social connection tool as they might be, video games can end up eating away a child’s life if left unchecked, meaning parents need a way to keep track of their child’s behavior without needing to helicopter. Luckily, there are plenty of great solutions. If you’re looking for some help with your child’s gaming or are concerned about the amount of time they spend on a screen, then take a look below at these 5 great apps for gaming addiction. As always, preface taking any action to limit or control your childrens’ behavior with lots of family discussion centered around how to create healthy relationships with technology, devices and gaming.
1. Kidslox – Mobile – Subscription or Free version
The best for mobile app control, Kidsblox is easy to setup and use. Link your child’s device with your own and control when and for how long they get to use certain apps. Block specific inappropriate and/or distracting sites or general device usage to knock down their screen time. Theres even a full ‘Lockdown’ mode should the need arise.
2. Qustodio – All Platforms – Subscription
Another great control app that works on everything like phones, tablets, and desktops, this app comes with a complete arsenal of parental features to keep tabs on your child’s activity. It blocks and restricts app and websites, but also allows for social network, location, and call monitoring as well.
Ok, ok, its not an app, but it deserves a spot on this list as this function will be your go-to way to manage a youngsters time spent on a console, something that’s not a computer or mobile device. All of these console controls give options to limit screen time and restrict social media access through the device, as well as block mature content and limit spending through the digital store. For a complete list on how to do this for each type of console, check out this article here.
4. HT Parental Controls – Desktop – Subscription
Application monitoring, search queries, keystroke tracking, scheduled screen captures…. The list goes on and on. This is one software that you won’t find lacking in features. For just $7 a month you’ll be able to do everything from filter websites to scheduling a shutdown of the computer, all remotely and in real time from your own PC.
5. Circle Home Plus – Mobile app subscription and physical device
Bring screen time control to the next level with the award-winning Circle. Best described as a Google Home for parental controls, the device connects to your home Wi-Fi or ethernet, giving access to all other devices on the network, including smart TV’s and gaming consoles. With the Circle app, enforce a wide variety of parental controls over all those devices, like screen time limits, bedtimes, content filtering, and much more.