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Do You Know How Addictive Online Gaming and Social Media Are Designed to Be?

Spending too much time on your cell phone, laptop, or gaming device can be detrimental to your physical and mental wellbeing, especially for kids and teens. Many people would never guess how addicting gaming and social media are designed to be, and that’s why Williamson Health and Wellness Center and the Mingo County Family Resource Network will be co-hosting the Responsible Gaming and Screen Time Reduction Workshop on May 20th.

“The workshop is about having parents, and those that work with parents, understand the importance of screen time reduction and responsible gaming,” says Amy Hannah. “We will have a guest speaker from First Choice Services and Problem Gamblers Network of West Virginia that will walk us through how gaming can become addictive and the hidden tools that are used to get our youth hooked.”

Williamson Health and Wellness Center is currently in year two of a youth gambling prevention grant. Last year, they distributed around 1,000 surveys to school-age youth in Mingo County, and around two-thirds of them want to reduce their screen time. Shortly after, the pandemic hit, bringing even more screen time to the kids, thanks to online school. “We knew that it was imperative to reach parents and parent educators about the potential risks for our youth,” says Amy.

Amy wants people to understand they aren’t saying you should say no to screen time and online games entirely, but they do want to educate on how to limit it. “I want people to understand that we are not saying to never allow children to play games or use screen time. We are saying that all of this should be done in moderation and balanced with other activities,” she says. “Learning about all of the possible long-term side effects will surprise you. When I first heard of youth gambling prevention, I thought it was a silly concept. Then I attended a workshop and was blown away by the things that I did not know.”

For kids in the area to benefit, people need to come out and hear what they have to say, Amy says. “To make this workshop successful, we need community members, parents, and those that work with families to come hear this important message. Together, we can come up with creative ideas to engage our children away from screens.”

The Responsible Gaming and Screen Time Reduction Workshop will be held at the Mountaineer Hotel in Williamson, West Virginia on May 20th at 11am with lunch provided. RSVPs from those who wish to attend should be received by no later than May 13th by calling Amy Hannah at 304-235-5607. For more information or to register to attend online, click here.


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