Family Magazine

Fortnite, Snap Streak, Instagram and Other Summertime Addictions

By Joanigeltman @joanigeltman
Yay!!!!! School's out for summer!!! I was shopping at my little neighborhood grocery today and bumped into one of my neighbors. I asked when her kids were done with school, and she exclaimed TODAY!!! I asked if she was in the store to buy her kids a last day of school special food treat, and she said, NO, I'm buying myself a bottle of wine!!!!
After a summer of policing fortnite, snap streaking and snap chatting, you too might be on the way to your local wine store!!! But policing you must. In the mind of your teen, any limitations that may have been present on video gaming and social networking were only there to make sure they got their homework done. Now that there is no more homework, they will be assuming that phones and video gaming can now be a full time pursuit.  Oh how wrong they are!!! Getting their homework done was actually less important than turning your teen into a full out addict!! Did you know that video gaming and social networking releases the brain's natural high-dopamine, which is the same chemical that opiates mimic. Once you start, you can't stop!!
Summertime and all the unstructured time it provides will not be easy for you. Your usual arguments for maintaining some semblance of sanity around fortnite and social networking will fall on deaf ears.  It will be your job to put on the brakes. If you don't,  you seriously will have a kid who will become even more addicted to their gaming and their phone, and then in 2 months from now when school starts this will come back to bite you in the ass!!!
This has become such a huge mental health issue that the World Health Organization has now added video game addiction as an official mental health condition. Soooooooo, if your teen has hours of unstructured time this summer while you're at work, or they are between work shifts or SAT classes, or internships that only require 20 hours of time, that leaves them with hours and hours available to play fortnite or snap their little hearts out!! If you have a teen whose friends are away or isn't particularly social, this is of particular concern. Just because they CAN play or instagram or text now all day, doesn't mean they should!!!
The only way you will be able to deal with this is to get some form of parental control software. Your teen will not be happy, they will yell at you, they will scream at you, they will tell you that they hate you!!! So be it!!! It's only a tantrum with loud noise. If it becomes more than a tantrum, your teen is already in trouble! Disney Circle, Verizon Family, Net Nanny and Net Sanity are some of the software available for parents. You download software on your computer and from there you get control of your teens devices. Remember to input their phones, iPads, laptops and home computers. Teens are smart and if there is a will there is a way. Limit the number of hours of play they can have. Your teens will also learn the value of time management. If for example you agree that he/she can play fortnite or use snapchat or instagram 3 hours a day, and they choose to use up all their time from 9AM -12 PM. oh well, that's life. The software will just shut off the app or video game after 3 hours. They will just have to learn how to allot their time.  Hours of video gaming and social networking can be socially isolating and increases anxiety and depression. Experts know this, parents know this, but kids will NEVER get this. So don't expect any buy in from them.  Go to my old stand by: " I get this feels unfair, and nobody else's parents are doing this, and you hate me right now. But I love you and I can take you hating me if I know that I am doing the right thing to keep you safe and emotionally healthy.
Happy Summer!!!

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