Parents can discern between gamer misuse and addiction if they notice two important telltale signs in their children: withdrawal and isolation.

“If you’re a parent and your child is withdrawing, you might wonder if your kid is getting into pot or cocaine,” says Hilarie Cash of Internet/Computer Addiction Services in Redmond, Wash. “The symptoms are very similar.”



Cash and McDaniel are working on a parents’ guide to gaming addiction in which they outline the symptoms to look for in young gamers — something parents can prevent, they say, by regulating their children’s gaming time.



“It’s important to have the ground rules and the consequences clear from the get-go,” says Walsh. “The time to discuss this is not when you’re trying to impose the limits” after things have gotten out of control.



The video game industry agrees that the onus is on parents to monitor their children’s playing time.



“Parents who supervise their children need to make sure that are used appropriately,” says Carolyn Rauch, senior vice president of the Entertainment Software Association, the trade group that represents U.S. computer and video game publishers.



But gaming addiction isn’t limited to children.



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