Gaming addiction and kids of divorce


Today’s post is by guest author Linda Alderfer, DC4K director and ministry coach.


Why do children’s ministers and DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) leaders need to be aware of gaming addiction?

Excessive use of video games can become a trap (an addiction) kids get caught in as they try to escape their emotional turmoil.

Experts have found that excessive gaming leads to addiction and health issues.

According to adolescent expert Jim West, MA, LMHC, NCC, at Total Life Counseling Center, excessive gaming rewires the reward circuitry in the brain. It becomes more rewarding for a student to play games in a fantasy world than to interact with people or do activities in reality.

Encourage students to explore other ways to cope, release stress, and discover new interests other than gaming.

At DC4K, we encourage students to get their bodies in motion in order to deal with stress, anger energy, and loneliness and not to “veg-out” in front of a screen to escape painful emotions.

The American Association of Pediatrics has issued guidelines to help parents balance their kids’ “screen” time with video games and to encourage other types of social interaction and physical activities.

According to these guidelines, kids should have no more than 30 minutes of screen time with 2 1/2 hours of non-electric play.

If you talk with the children in your group, you’ll be surprised at the amount of time kids are playing video games.

Encourage the kids in your group to explore physical activities, such exercising, riding their bike, and playing board games. Encourage them to try creative play, singing, dancing, painting, and using their imagination to build fun things out of everyday objects, such as old boxes.

Many results of gaming are behaviors kids of divorce display because of the disruption of the family:

  •       Increased aggression
  •       Confrontations with peers and teachers
  •       Decline in school achievement
  •       Delayed social skills

Now add gaming to the picture, and you can begin to understand the problems these kids are going to face now and in the future.

Church leaders, children’s ministers, and DC4K leaders can pass on this information to make parents aware of the issues and dangers to their kids from excessive gaming and unlimited electronic screen time.

To read more and watch a TV news interview with Jim West from Fox 35, go to


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2 thoughts on “Gaming addiction and kids of divorce

  1. Being a DivorceCare Leader’s kid, my daughter began DC4K at it’s inception when she was four years old. She was always the “crafty” type, using everyday throwaway items to make her art.
    Once, at about age 8-9, she used cardboard boxes, wooden survey sticks, miles of duct tape, paint and markers to create a six foot tall, multi-colored cross (annotated with original drawings) on our front porch. By this time she was an ersatz DC4K facilitator, always surmising which child(ren) were in need of greater attention by the leaders and parents.
    FYI: she kept that box cross in her bedroom until age 16, when she remodeled and used the boxes for packing her keepsakes.

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