2012 Higher Love

Parent Well in our Digital World

Gloria DeGaetano

Parent Well in our Digital World – Hooked on Games? Pro-Active Solutions

Part One: Guest Interview

Gloria, founder of The Parent Coaching Institute, and author of Parenting Well in a Media Age, talks with Andrew Doan, M.D., author of the book, Hooked on Games: The Lure and Cost of Video Game and Internet Addiction. This is not a dry summary of research on video game addiction. It is Dr. Doan’s personal story of his own addiction. His description of the process of being caught in the addiction, and what it took to escape, is told with great insight. For Dr. Doan is a practicing M.D. in ophthalmology, and has a Ph.D. in neuroscience. As he struggled for over three years, with the help of his wife, family, church, and friends to escape the undertow, he also researched what it was that he was trying to escape. The story he tells could not have been told without the combined insights of his personal experience and history, as seen through his medical and scientific training.

Did you know that one in eleven teens is hooked on video games to the point of obsession? That means they will spend most of their waking hours immersed in a game, even when there is no external reward—no one praises them for playing. No one gives them a recognition medal—a common practice now with most kids’ sports participation. No one delivers a pizza to their door each time they successfully get to the next level. Yet, without any of these typical types of external rewards, they keep playing. Often oblivious to their surroundings, they may regularly skip meals, living off snacks and energy drinks to ward off sleep in order to keep playing. What is it about a video game that compels this kind of investment of time and energy? Is it just for the “fun?”

Gloria, co-author of the popular book, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie, and Video Game Violence, is as passionate about this issue as Dr. Doan is. Consequently, this discussion is quite lively as they both get fired up to help parents understand not only how to pro-actively address the video game habit with their children, but also what moms and dads can do to prevent it from becoming an obsession in their children’s lives.

Part Two: The Parent Coaching Corner™

I continue coaching Geri, mom of three boys, ages 13, 11, and 9 regarding self-management of their digital devices. This is our seventh session and we are in the middle of her plan for making this summer a productive one for her sons—which includes becoming more consistent with the rules around their digital devices.
In our last session we talked about her morning routine and how she started a new practice of the boys getting up on their own. This was a great beginning of their learning self-management skills and natural consequences. We learned, like we say at the PCI, “the little things” often mean more than we ever know since their waking up on their own freed her to concentrate on her work better. She started her day off with a cup of coffee and concentrated work, without worrying about when the boys would wake up. A big step to starting off the day in a positive frame, more prepared to address the day creatively and productively with her sons.

In this session we learn of the ups and downs of learning new habits and attempt to shed more light on the boys’ intrinsic motivation and what they do well when they are self-managing and enjoying making good choices for themselves. Once we know that, we can then transfer those qualities and skills to their self-managing their electronic devices.
(Listen to the six previous podcasts to catch up with Geri.)

Please Note: You hear a portion of a one-hour coaching session. We can’t record the entire session, but we give you the important gist. For more information about PCI Parent Coaching, please visit The Parent Coaching Institute’s website.