Top 10 Alternatives to Video Games

By Staff Writer

“I’m bored.”

“I just want to relax.”

“It’s too cold outside.”

Are these some of the excuses your teen comes up with to keep playing video games instead of getting outside and doing something? Perhaps a little parental persuasion will encourage your teen to try one of these video game alternatives:

  1. Take the entire family outside for a walk, game or picnic
  2. Play “old-fashioned” board games as a family
  3. Join a club or sports team
  4. Enroll your teen in art, dance or music lessons
  5. Get a pet and give your teen primary responsibility for its care
  6. Read a good book at the library
  7. Take a class at the local community center
  8. Participate in a church youth group
  9. Volunteer to serve food, maintain public hiking trails, clean up the beach or some other project
  10. Try an adventurous outdoor activity, such as rock-climbing, whitewater rafting, fly fishing or mountain biking

The first step in deciding which video game alternative would be most appealing to your teen is to understand the underlying need. Does your teen play video games to:

  • Have fun
  • Relax
  • Meet new people
  • Avoid spending time with the family
  • Escape difficult emotions, memories or experiences

Often, you can lure your teen away from video games by helping them find a passion, connect with people in a deeper way and stay actively involved in life.

Of course, it isn’t always easy to get your teen to stop playing video games. They may not be motivated to change bad habits, or worse, they may have become “addicted” to video games or the Internet. In these situations, you may need help to establish healthier interests and rebuild strong interpersonal relationships.

Wilderness therapy programs and therapeutic boarding schools are some of the best options for teenagers addicted to gaming. These therapeutic programs for teens treat gaming addictions by:

  • Addressing underlying emotional or behavioral issues, such as depression, anxiety or defiance, through intensive therapy
  • Introducing healthy activities such as sports, art, outdoor recreation and many others
  • Creating a positive peer environment to combat social isolation and build communication skills
  • Improving parent-child relationships through family therapy and workshops

In reasonable amounts, video games can be a fun way to escape. But a teen who spends much of their free time in front of a computer or video game console is missing out on the countless opportunities waiting just outside the front door.

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