If you know a boy aged 10 to 21, then there’s a good chance you’ve witnessed them sink whole days into playing video games. You might even have accused them of being “addicted” to video games. As it turns out, you might have been right. Under new guidelines established by the World Health Organisation, “gaming disorder” will be recognised as a medical condition for the first time.

Gaming

What is gaming addiction?

Gaming addiction will be listed as “gaming disorder” in the 11th edition of the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD). In the ICD, gaming disorder is described as a “severe pattern” of gaming behaviour in which the participant’s gaming “takes precedence over other life interests”.

The entry demonstrates that the WHO understands the potential harm of uncontrolled video game use. It’s a recognition that people can experience video game addiction in the same way that they can experience gambling addiction or addiction to other kinds of harmful behaviours.

There are often real-world consequences to gaming addiction. Patients with gaming disorder often want to cut down on their gaming, but can’t. They often fail to fulfil social obligations and miss activities or events organised by friends. Sometimes there are serious consequences, such as when doctor’s appointments or professional appointments are missed due to gaming.

What are the signs of video game addiction?

Under the WHO guidelines, doctors will need to see evidence of at least 12 months of abnormal gaming behaviour to make a diagnosis. In extreme circumstances, a diagnosis can be made in a shorter period of time if the gaming is more intense.

The symptoms of gaming disorder are as follows:

  • Impaired control over gaming (frequency, intensity and duration)
  • Increased priority being given to gaming
  • Continuation or escalation of gaming, despite negative consequences

If you’re worried that a loved one might be affected by gaming disorder, there are signs to watch out for. Are they tired as a result of staying up late and playing video games? Are they withdrawing from their social circle and real-world responsibilities in favour of video games? Do they talk or think about video games even when they are supposed to be doing something else?

It’s important to be rational when looking for warning signs. Many teenagers (and adults) will stay up all night playing video games with their friends and spend the whole of the next day talking about it. It’s not gaming disorder if this happens rarely or happens in a controlled way. Distinguishing between a normal enjoyment of video games and a disorder is crucial.

When do video games become harmful?

The physical warning signs of gaming disorder are the signs associated with excessive computer use. These are as follows:

  • Backache
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Disturbances in sleep
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Blurred or strained vision

There are also consequences to the gamer’s mental health. Excessive gaming has been linked to depression and anxiety. Excessive gaming can also cause insomnia and people who spend a lot of time in front of screens can find it difficult to interact with people face-to-face.

 

Think you might have gaming disorder? It can be treated

The framework for treating gaming disorder is similar to the treatment for other addictive behaviours, such as gambling. Treatment will involve therapy of some kind. The therapy can take place at an outpatient centre, but in extreme cases, the patient might prefer intensive treatment in an inpatient centre.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an approach to treating addictive behaviours which has been recognised by the NHS. Through CBT, a patient and a counsellor will examine the patient’s thought processes and identify triggers for negative or addictive behaviours. Together, negative thought processes will be challenged and replaced with healthy ones.

Alongside one-to-one sessions, the patient will also often be invited to group sessions. If gaming disorder has damaged familial or marital relations, then patients might benefit from exploring family therapy and couples therapy. The patient could also attend group therapy sessions in a supportive environment.

Author Bio: Obi Unaka is the Treatment Director at Charterhouse Clinic. He has 16 years of experience in a clinical setting. Obi has developed successful addiction treatment services in a variety of settings.

3 Little Buttons

When you think of a classroom, what springs to mind? Most likely it is a room, indoors, with desks and chairs facing a whiteboard on the wall. It’s important to remember, however, that this isn’t the only environment that a child can learn in and, as research has shown, it may not be the most effective.

Many children are going home after school and spending time on their tablets and devices instead of playing outdoors like previous generations. Introducing outdoor play at school provides them with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and engage with nature.

Together with Infinite Playgrounds, creators of Adventure playgrounds, we look at the benefits of learning outdoors and how to adapt lessons to teach outside.

What are the benefits of learning outdoors?

In addition to encouraging children to appreciate the outdoors, there are many benefits of learning outside of the traditional classroom.

One benefit is the opportunity for children to exhibit some physical activity that wouldn’t be possible indoors. In the school yard or in a sensory playground, there is lots of space for the children to run around and play — raising their heart rate and keeping them active.

Another benefit is the encouraged use of imagination. There is plenty for children to discover outdoors; from plants they may not have seen before to minibeasts that catch their eye. Before the children learn what these are, they might use their imagination with their peers to guess what a certain animal is or what one of the plants is called. This stretch of imagination will become useful when they begin to write creatively or during drama exercises.

When children are learning about how plants grow, for example, it will make the lesson much more memorable for them when they can touch the plants and the soil. 92% of teachers surveyed said that their pupils were more engaged with learning when they were outdoors.

 85% of teachers reported that they saw a positive impact on their pupils’ behaviour when they were being taught outside. This could be down to the children finding more enjoyment in outdoor classrooms — 92% of pupils said that they preferred their lessons outdoors.

 It is possible that the introduction of outdoor classrooms could improve school attendance rates, too. If children are enjoying their lessons more, it is likely that they will have more motivation to come to school.

 How can you adapt classroom teaching to the outdoors?

Teaching outdoors does not have to massively disrupt your curriculum, there are many ways that you can alter your lesson plans so that you can take them outside. The main thing about outdoor teaching is that it shouldn’t be overly teacher-controlled — it is important for children to be aware of the safety hazards outdoors. But apart from this, they should be encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones.

There are many new resources that become available when a lesson is taught outside, as well as all of the extra space. Teaching outside can be beneficial for the teacher as well as the children, 90% of staff found that outdoor teaching was useful for curriculum delivery.

Maths

Depending on the age group of your class, there are many ways that you can teach maths outdoors. For the younger children, consider bringing shapes and counting outdoors and asking some of the following questions: How many petals does this flower have? How many circles can you spot? How many legs does the picnic table have? You could take pictures of the shapes to have a look at when you get back into the classroom.

For an older age group, encourage them to measure each other doing the long jump or provide stop watches and let them time each other running a certain distance. When you get back to the classroom, teach the children how to plot these numbers on a graph.

English

For English, consider allowing the children to explore the area around them and draw some minibeasts that they can see. When you get back to the classroom encourage the children to write down a short story involving their pictures. For younger children, they could colour in the pictures when they get back and talk about a made-up story.

Science

There is lots to do with science outdoors. You can teach children how plants grow and even allow them to plant their own seeds, visiting them regularly and explaining the scientific processes behind the plant’s development. Children can also learn about heart rate through exercising outdoors.

It appears that most lessons can be taken outdoors and the benefits are hard to ignore, the next time you are planning your week ahead consider taking the class outdoors and allow your pupils to push their boundaries.

Sources

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/englands-largest-outdoor-learning-project-reveals-children-more-motivated-to-learn-when-outside

 

Cuddle Fairy

There are some very powerful reasons for mums to become self-employed, and perhaps with help from someone like Boost Capital, who offer several funding options such as a merchant cash advance, mums can do just that

Many of us have the experience of not really wanting to go back to work away from our babies and toddlers. It can be heart-wrenching when grandparents or childcare providers are the ones who see their special milestones and report them to us. We feel we have missed out. I remember almost bursting into tears when my babysitter gave me my son’s first drawing. When you are self-employed, you can work the hours you see fit often with shorter and more intensive bursts of work.

Even if we are happy to go back to work, childcare can be a really expensive item of expenditure. I was fortunate that my parents moved house to be able to offer me help with my first son allowing me to return to work. Not everyone has that support network to hand. Of course, things change and when my parents had to care for a sick relative, my childcare arrangements had to change very quickly.

So many jobs don’t seem to offer the flexibility mums need with hours that take no consideration of the school or nursery hours. Home-based working is still not offered much even though so many roles could be done from home. Part-time hours that suit us can be hard to find.

There is immense pressure on mums when their child is ill or when their presence at sports day or the Christmas Play is so much wanted. Such emotional pressure does nothing for a worker’s morale.

Many mums are also facing long, expensive and exhausting commutes to their place of work.

There is another way via self-employment and there are millions of mums in the UK taking up this option. Although this option can be seen as ambitious and risky, it is also exciting and puts you in charge of your own destiny.

The Internet is your friend as you can communicate with customers via email, Skype, smartphones and social media

Self-employment offers the option of doing something you love and have always dreamed about doing. For example, so many bloggers who started blogging as an outlet during the early days of parenting now are making money as freelance writers or virtual assistants.

Self-employment offers mums freedom, flexibility and a chance to express who they really are making the most of their individual skills and qualities.

Are you self-employed? What do you enjoy most about that status?

Good Reasons For Mums To  Become Self-Employed

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My teenage son does not know what he wants to do and that’s OK. I don’t say that lightly and as  a mum I am concerned but I am starting to wonder if us mums don’t worry too much.

My son is 17 and left school last Summer. He was ill for a lot of the year and his results were not a true reflection of his intelligence at all. There were some great results particularly in mathematics and RS. He has mild dyslexia and I have always said he has dyspraxia so her finds writing tiresome and struggles with presentation skills.

When I had my son,  I sort of assumed he would be academic like myself. I did not  expect him to go to any particular university but I did think he would do GCSES, A-Levels and then a degree. It was the route I took so when it was obvious he was super-intelligent, that’s what I thought would happen. I went to Cambridge and studied Law so maybe that put some undue pressure on him without me even realising it.

I told him he could take a year off after leaving school to work out what he wants to do. This has done him the power of good. He has had time to stop and stare, to play and to relax. I think our schools put far too much pressure on young people these days and then we all throw up our hands in surprise when the country’s children end up with mental health issues.

Then there is the news from friends and family members that their children are doing so well spreading their wings and once again,  I think it must be me. I have cocked up and my children will be the victims. I  can feel envious and even start disliking heartfelt friends as they crow about their kids on social media.

Of course, it all nonsense! Why should my son know what he wants to do just because that would make my life a bit simpler? In many ways, it is great for me as it means he lives at home and I have his amazing company and a bit (a very bit!) of help around the house. If he is not yet ready to fly the nest, that’s OK. After all so many graduates end up coming home to roost in the end anyway unable to afford anywhere to live and saddled with heaps of debt.

Why do we do this thing right from birth that human beings who are individuals in their own right are expected to hit key milestones at specific times? It just leads so many people to think they are failures and that is a bad message for children and adults alike.

A college/university education guarantees nothing. I have never done particularly well once I decided to leave a legal career behind in a hope I could help poorer and more disadvantaged people. Perhaps some of those  people will remember me with affection though and perhaps I made a difference.

My younger brother got less than average results and ended up going to music college as a mature student. He has travelled the word as an opera singer and teacher. This all happened because my parents encouraged my brothers to do amateur dramatics and Ian Wallace happened to visit our Town Hall and hear my brother practising. He told him he had real talent and helped him find a way to give up his job on the local newspaper and to pursue a singing career.

My oldest brother left school with just an 0-Level in woodwork and ended up a merchandiser for Monsoon and a property developer to boot. This is probably because he met his partner.

So often it is not about the exams or the experience but more about who we happen to meet along the way. My Dad was inspired to become a sailor by a relative and walked out of school with no exams whatsoever so he could pursue that dream.

My mother left school with no exams and had the sense to leave factory work behind. Again, when a cook in the nurse’s home at the hospital became ill at Christmas, Mum was in the right place at the right time and took over.

Back to my son. He has suddenly started to show an active interest in discussing what he wants to do. He has no idea really but knows he does not want  to do office work or to work with animals. He would like to work with people. I think he would be amazing in any customer-facing role as he is friendly, kind and polite. He does not drink or do drugs. He has a strong belief in fairness and is proud to say he is a feminist whilst also keen to ensure that the recent focus on women’s rights does not lead to an abuse of men. He knows so much about history and politics and keeps saying he would like to make films.

We can worry so much as parents. What if he never makes any money at all? What if he never finds his way? Not that long ago, the worry was would he ever learn to stay dry and eventually we hit that infamous Nativity Play where he stood in the middle of the stage and showed everyone his “Big Boy Pants” with pride.

The reality if in a few years time, I will probably read this post and wonder why I was concerned at all. I took a different route. Maybe he takes after me. I have made my contribution to the world and so will her.

My teenage boy does not know what he wants to do and that’s OK.

 

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I have a 17 year old son who did his GCSEs last year. He got good results but is not sure what he wants to do in the future. He has dyspraxia so is not a fan of writing at all which puts him off more academic environments. He also had a serious operation last year for quite an embarrassing issue which knocked his confidence. We are considering various options to help him recognise his talents and to develop his levels of self-confidence. One option for 16 and 17 year olds is the National Citizenship Service.

The NCS is an affordable opportunity that can make a real difference to teenagers’ lives whilst contributing to fixing some societal problems too. The whole exciting experience including food, accommodation and travel costs comes in at just £50 and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is also provided for young people with additional needs. This seems like a good fit for my son and a brilliant opportunity for any 16 or 17 year old from England and Northern Ireland.
NCS

The NCS Programme in a nutshell

  • Puts teenagers through a number of challenging activities to take them out of their comfort zone. Pushing comfort zones always leads to great things in my experience including the development of self-belief and strength of character that can sustain you throughout life.
  • Provides a progressive journey so that young people take ever increasing baby steps and then develop leadership skills. I think my son is a natural leader with strong ideas and opinions. A structured programme like this might be just what he needs to help him move into and succeed in the workplace.
  • Enables participants to engage with their communities through  social action. As former charity workers, both myself and my husband are keen on helping others and encouraging our children to do so.
  • Consists of a two to four week programme, which takes place in school holidays, includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event.

National Citizenship Service

Did you know?

  • Almost 400 000 young people have taken part
  • More than seven million hours of community action have been completed making a positive difference to society.
  • In 2018 more than 100 000 teens from different backgrounds will come together in common purpose on NCS. This means one in six of the cohort of 16 year olds will live together, develop skills together and build community projects together

National Citizenship Service

What I love about the NCS

  • I think it is always good when young people from different backgrounds come together to share a unique experience. This leads to amazing memories and a better understanding of others’ points of view. In a troubled world, both of these are things we need more of in my opinion.
  • NCS was set up to build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. Who could argue with that? It has the potential to build a more peaceful future with teenagers going out keen to make their mark on the world and to ensure it is a positive one too.
  • NCS is the new rite of passage helping move teens on to a positive future with more self-belief and new skills.
  • For every £1 spent, NCS’ 2016 summer programme delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 of benefits back to society.

 

 Sign up today
There are still places available for your Year 11s to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer. To sign up now, go to the NCS website using this link: http://www.ncsyes.co.uk/utm_source=blogger&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=summer18
Don’t worry if you have already booked your summer holidays or have other commitments over the summer as the NCS will work with you to find a date that fits in with your family circumstances.
This post is a collaborative post with Tots100
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