Videogame Use & Abuse

Contents provided by: Community Health Promotion Services (CHPS) Child & Adolescent Addiction, Mental Health & Psychiatry Program

Simplified version of the contents on this page is available as a handout.


  • Competitive gaming #1 billion in revenue in 2021
  • $1.8 billion in 2022
  • Popular

2021 Canadian Video Game Industry

  • 32,300 full time employees
  • Average salary of $78,600 ($60,400 starting)
  • 5.5 billion

Videogame Types and Design


  • Early Childhood
  • Everyone
  • Everyone 10+
  • Teen
  • Mature
  • Adults only
  • Rating pending

Two different issues:

Too much play might look like:

Benefits of play

  • Pain management
  • Social connection
  • Understand stories
  • Fine motor skills
  • Cognitive development
  • Fun
  • Improved social skills – collaboration, strategy, team play
  • Stress and anger management
  • Flow state
  • Language skills
  • Next?

Taking a balanced approach

Effective interventions

  • Limit type/duration
  • Play AFTER work is done
  • Social skills on/offline
  • Social activity on/offline
  • Increase physical activity
  • Know your child’s friends
  • Monitor play
  • Monitor bullying
  • Monitor grades
  • Put the wifi on a timer (ie. Ends at 10pm)
  • Ask questions/start conversations

Media Smarts/American Academy of Pediatrics

  • No screens in bedrooms
  • Screen time – dessert/reward
  • Set a media time limit and stick to it
  • Limit screen time to less than 1 – 2 hours per day
  • View programs/games together and discuss values
  • Choose games that model good interpersonal skills
  • View age-appropriate content
  • Control video screens – gaming console in public area
  • Set family viewing time
  • Pay attention to family’s media use:

How to start the conversation

  • What game(s) are you playing?
  • What do you like most about that game?
  • What do you like least about that game?
  • Who do you play with?
  • Do you know them personally or just through the game?
  • Do you have a role with your online friends in the game?
  • If you don’t play, do your online friends get mad at you?
  • Do you think the time you play is not enough or too much?
  • What similarities and differences are there between online and offline worlds?
  • What kind of lessons do you learn from gaming that you can use offline?
  • Where do you see gaming taking you in life?

Guiding Questions

Cut down – Have you ever felt like you should cut down on playing?

Annoyed – Have you been annoyed by people’s comments about your playing?

Guilty – Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your playing time?

Eye opener – Do you think about playing when you are not playing?


Simplified version of the contents on this page is available as a handout. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Disclaimer: This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an “as is”, “where is” basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.  Last updated August 2022