Jason's View

Addiction Gaming and Autism

26 Apr 2019 by Jason's Connection

 

Q: I have a grandson with Asperger's syndrome. He's addicted to computer games. When I ask him to stop, he gets very angry - mostly with himself. I don't know what to do.

The goal is to help him manage what he is feeling.

A: You ask a very good question. There may be multiple reasons or possible underlying stressors that play a role. It may, however, give him a social outlet he may not otherwise have at the moment. It may also provide him with an interest he enjoys, and it can be more interactive than watching TV. Online gaming also can be a community he engages with and feels comfortable. Do remember, the goal is to help him manage what he is feeling, NOT feel bad about himself and perhaps not take it ALL away. Computer games can have a self-soothing function for many to manage stress and anxiety.

We can't advise or recommend what to do in your situation, but following is an article and video to review that offers helpful insights. [NOTE: The links we share cannot guarantee or endorse, but provide information to start a discussion. People should use their judgment to find what best fits them.]

(1) Madison House Autism - Video Games and Autism: Helpful or Harmful?

Video games are viewed as a safe space by some autistic people.

Madison House Autism: "Video game addiction and excessive time spent playing games can result in health and behavioral issues, such as sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, irritableness, and several other problems. On the other hand, as explained in the following video by Asperger Experts, video games are viewed as a safe space by some autistic people, in addition to their entertainment value. Both the negative and positive need to be considered when we take a look at the use of video games by autistic people, or we risk making faulty judgements."

They [video games] can become a source of frustration if they are prioritized over all else.


(One) Conclusion: Video games can be a great source of joy for people with autism, but they can also become a source of frustration if they are prioritized over all else. It is important to make sure that the beneficial effects of video games are recognized while encouraging offline interaction and limiting video game play, so that other necessary aspects of life are not neglected. Can we conclude that video games are helpful or harmful? The short answer is, “It depends!”, and the longer answer is that video games are not inherently good or bad; their value comes from how they are used and for how long. So, feel free to fire up that Xbox, but invite a friend or family member to join and learn to love setting limits. Video game addiction and excessive time spent playing games can result in health and behavioral issues, such as sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, irritableness, and several other problems. On the other hand, as explained in the following video by Asperger Experts, video games are viewed as a safe space by some autistic people, in addition to their entertainment value. 

Both the negative and positive need to be considered when we take a look at the use of video games by autistic people, as explained in the video in the article by Asperger Experts: Why people with Asperger's play video games.

Sometimes the best way to help your kid with Asperger's play less video games is to play video games with them.

Asperger Experts.com Video (https://youtu.be/UBQA-6n7mnM): Why do people with Asperger’s play video games? It’s more than addiction or avoidance. "… sometimes the best way to help your kid with Asperger's play less video games is to play video games with them. Because then, they start to feel safe, then they start to feel like they're in your world, you're in their world, there's a relationship forming, and you can now take them out and do other things with them." - Danny Raede, Co-founder of Asperger Experts, CEO 

For more information about Madison House Autism, visit their site http://www.madisonhouseautism.org/


If this information helps any of our readers, we would appreciate hearing about it and any resources you used to share with other members of the Jason’s Connection community. FB message or email us at info@jasonsconnection.org.

Photo: Back view of a teenage boy wearing headphones and playing video games in a darkened room [Image 123RF]