Venture Academy has been serving teens across Canada since 2001. Inquiries regarding teens with gaming addiction and unhealthy internet use have been on the rise over the last decade but over the last few years parent concerns about electronic addictions seem to be growing exponentially. Social media, internet and gaming addictions, bullying and dangerous online behaviors are having tremendous impact on our children. Most parents are indicating gaming and online gaming is problematic for their sons, and social media as being a key component in the unhealthy behaviours they are seeing with their daughters. As we study this modern phenomenon from the front lines, we have identified several common themes associated with internet and gaming addictions.

a male at a computer with headset on intensely plays video games displaying the top ten signs of gaming addiction

Top 10 signs of gaming addiction & problematic online behaviours for teens in Canada

  1. Isolating self from real life friends and family
  2. Giving up sports and other activities they used to enjoy
  3. Becomes a priority at the expense of everything else in life
  4. School performance dropping because of gaming
  5. Irritated or experiences anxiety when accessibility to gaming is diminished
  6. Causing conflict in the family home
  7. Online contacts more important than real world relationships
  8. Punishing parents when parents disconnect their child from the game
  9. Gaming getting in the way of most aspects of healthy functioning
  10. Bargaining for game time then fails to follow up with their end of the agreement

Other possible signs of gaming addiction

  1. Becomes their life, it’s all they can talk about and want to do
  2. Online interactions are everything. Child feels he is letting the other users down when he isn’t there with them
  3. Taking an electronic device away from them is like cutting off an arm
  4. Lying to be able to access gaming
  5. Stealing credit card to purchase in-game items
  6. Hygiene has gone out the window
  7. Avoiding real world situations and using gaming as escapism
  8. Lost all their real world friends
  9. Believe that they can become famous and rich like a handful of YouTube and gaming personalities
  10. Even when parents disconnect them they find other ways of accessing; using neighbors wireless, using proxy servers, stealing the modem back

You might be wondering about the phrase “gaming addiction”. You might think “addiction” is a little strong. If you look at the list you could easily replace the word “gaming” with the word “drugs or alcohol”. When assessing whether a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol chances are a counsellor is using a similar kind of list. That is why the word “addiction” applies in many circumstances to problematic online behavior for teens. The behaviour of gaming, the dependency in connection to gaming, consequences of excessive gaming, and even some physiological impacts on the brain can be similar to those who may be addicted to drugs or alcohol.

a concerned mom reassures a young girl as she listens to what parents are saying

What Parents Are Saying

a male at a computer with headset on intensely plays video games displaying the top ten signs of gaming addiction

Top Ten Signs of Gaming Addiction

two pairs of hands hold gaming controllers while clasped hands in background reflect someone giving the gaming addiction self test

Gaming and Internet Addiction Self Test

a girl holds a video game controller not understanding gaming addiction

Understanding Gaming/Internet Addiction

two male teens laugh and play video games before getting a gaming addiction diagnosis

Gaming Addiction Diagnosis

a girl sits in a window looking outside and thinking about the adverse effects of teen gaming

Adverse Effects of Teen Gaming

a young girl getting help

Getting Help for Gaming Addiction