Tips for reducing video game/Internet use

Are there strategies for reducing excessive video game or Internet use?

There is no single solution for controlling video game or Internet use. Experience has shown, however, that preventing yourself or forbidding others from using video games/the Internet is not helpful.

One study into effective control strategies (Wood, Griffiths and Parke, 2007) suggests:

  • Keeping a watch with you and setting the alarm to indicate the end of the activity;
  • Asking someone to interrupt you;
  • Setting a certain number of objectives to be achieved from the game and sticking to these;
  • Being aware of physiological signals (hunger, tiredness) and responding to these;
  • Listening to the radio or a CD whilst using video games of the Internet;
  • Setting break times, prior to playing;

The following table contains further practical suggestions for controlling video game and Internet use. There is specific advice for parents and young people.

General Suggestions

Suggestions for Parents

Suggestions for Young People

Specify a maximum amount of time to be spent using video games or the Internet

Limit use of stressful and exciting video games

Keep the computer within a communal area of the house

Try to use video games that involve team work rather than individual playing

Take breaks from playing games/using the Internet

Plan other interesting activities that can partially substitute video game/Internet use

Speak to people that you trust about problems related to video game/Internet use

Think of things that lead to a reduction in video game/Internet use

Do not hesitate to ask for professional support, if needed (for further information see the "addresses, telephone numbers and links" section).

Get to know the world of video games or the Internet, used by your child. For example, ask them to explain to you and show you

Pay attention to PEGI ratings provided with games

Discuss with your child the positive and negative effects of video games and the Internet, without demonizing these.

Use parental controllers on the Internet in order to protect minors, when available (for example on blogs, personal pages etc.)

Do not hesitate to ask for professional support, if needed (for further information see the "addresses, telephone numbers and links" section).


Share information with your parents about your use of video games or the Internet. This will reassure them

Introduce your parents to the world of video games or the Internet, which they will not necessarily know

Complete your school homework or other tasks before turning on the computer or games console

Speak to an adult that you trust if you have had a bad experience on the Internet

Think of activities that you have enjoyed in the past and have given up for gaming or using the Internet. Gradually reintroduce these or start new and interesting activities.

Think regularly about things that motivate you to reduce time spent gaming or online

Allow time to enjoy yourself and do not punish yourself

Of course, not all of these suggestions are possible or effective for everyone affected. For each individual it is important to select those which best suit the situation, be creative and use prudently.

bandeau bottom CJE - Centre du jeu excessif UNIGE - Université de Genève IMSP - Institut de Médecine Sociale et Préventive CHUV - Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois

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