About Cam Adair

Cam Adair is a speaker, writer and player of chess. A prominent thought leader on gaming addiction, he shares weekly videos on YouTube.

Game Quitters is a community for gamers who want to quit and get their life back on track. You can join the community for free, here.

Visit my website →
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Are you exhausted from arguments about your teen or young adult’s gaming use?

Have you ever asked them to come for dinner… only to hear “one more minute!?”

We all know what happens next.

One minute turns into two, and then ten, and then twenty, and now your simple request for them to join the family for dinner has turned into a full blown fight.

You’re tired of nagging them to do basic things, of having simple requests turn into an all-out war.

They are a teenager, and you have become a babysitter.

If you’ve experienced any of the above, then this article is for you.

I will share a simple trick that will reduce the amount of arguments you have about their video games. It will seem obvious when I say it.

Not only that, but this trick will also help you build rapport, which is really important to help your teen or young adult reduce their gaming, and get their life back on track.

Video Game Addiction Quiz for Parents

When it comes to reducing their gaming time, you have two options:

  1. Remove their access.
  2. Enroll them in making positive changes.

If you are going with the latter then building rapport is essential. Rapport creates trust, and trust creates leverage. Leverage creates the opportunity for transformation.

The easiest way to build more rapport is to learn more about why they game. In previous articles I’ve shared the reasons why your son or daughter is drawn to gaming, but today I want to take that a step further.

I want you to learn more about the specific games they play, and how these games operate.

The reason this is important is because when you understand more about the games your son or daughter plays, it shows them you know what you are talking about. It will help you become an ally, someone on their team, instead of an adversary who ‘just doesn’t get it‘.

It will also help you navigate requests like for them to join you for dinner. For instance, did you know that most games have ‘natural pauses’ built into the game? This means there are opportunities in the game for your son or daughter to save the game, and not lose their progress.

Why They Refuse to Come for Dinner

The reason you meet so much resistance when you ask your son or daughter to come for dinner is because they are likely in the midst of a part of the game where they are unable to quit without losing progress. Or worse, if they are playing with other players (which most of them do), if they leave in the middle of the game, they ruin it for everyone else.

When games are a way to gain social status and prestige, ruining the game for everyone else is social suicide. Compare that to having one more argument with their parents – who don’t get it anyways – and you can see why it’s easy for them to justify their gaming.

Their reputation amongst their peers is far more important – no offense.

To avoid this scenario, learn more about the games they play and how they operate. For instance, are they playing a game where they play ‘matches’ with other players? This means there is a battle and usually, set time limit to the game. Let’s say that time limit is 30 minutes.

You know dinner is coming up so you let them know after this match they need to save and stop playing so they can come for dinner. Otherwise, if you ask them to come for dinner in the middle of the match you will meet a lot of resistance.

And you let them know that if they do start a new game then you will be turning off the wifi and they will lose their progress, and it will make them look bad in front of their peers. You let them know that you know how the game works.

Practical Steps

So how do you learn more about the types of games they play, and how these games operate?

First, ask them what games they play. What are they called? Do they play against other players? Do they have matches? How do the games work?

Next, you want to type the name of the game into YouTube with ‘gameplay’. For instance, if they play League of Legends, type ‘League of Legends gameplay’ or ‘League of Legends walkthrough’. There are thousands of videos on YouTube that will show you the game and how they operate. Look for if they have natural pauses, or ‘matches’.

Finally, next time you’re getting dinner ready, or you have another request for them, implement this advice. Ask them if they are in the middle of the match and how long it will take. Let them know they need to save the game at the end and they can come back to it later. Help them avoid losing their progress or social status. It will be a war to win that battle otherwise.

Although this trick will work well for a lot of parents, everyone’s situation is different, and if you feel their gaming is completely out of control, you may need to focus more on removing their access all together. Doing so requires sensitivity to the situation, and I always recommend to do so with the support of a professional.

Join our Support Group for Parents on Facebook for more support.

To learn more about video game addiction and how to reclaim your teenager or young adult, grab my parent’s guide.

Digital Detox Summercamp?

Spring break is here which means summer is just around the corner. One of the best ways to help your teenager get off screens this summer is by sending them to Reset! They will reconnect with nature, make new friends, and learn about the power of habits.

I’m an advisor to Reset Summercamps.

Game Quitters has partnered with E.P.I.C. (Everyday People Initiating Change) to build a third clean water well in Tanzania, Africa.

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In July 2018 I will be heading to Tanzania to oversee the project and ensure it’s a success. Below you will find the full details of the trip, including why it’s important and what the impact will be.

I just want to quickly say how excited I am, and that this is another step closer to fulfilling the vision we have for Game Quitters – to bring a community of people together to make a positive difference in the world.

We need your support to make it happen, so click here to support our mission of bringing clean water to Tanzania.

Last year’s video:

Why I’m involved:

For the past two years I have had the honor of going to Tanzania, Africa to build a clean water well with E.P.I.C. (Everyday People Initiating Change). Together as a community we have raised over $10,000!

While I have been there I have seen with my very own eyes the reality of their situation, and the importance of giving them access to clean drinking water. Without it, certain sickness, and possible death. (Charity Water reports 4,500 children die every day from water-related illnesses.)

Seeing the very real, and meaningful impact this work has, I knew we had to do it again this year. Will you join me? Pledge your support here.

What’s the impact?


Imagine waking up this morning to brush your teeth, but instead of turning on a faucet with safe and clean water to use, you dump your toothbrush in a bucket full of bacteria, mosquitoes and dirt.

That’s the reality of 1.1 billion people in the world who do not have access to safe and clean water. Contaminated water isn’t just gross, it also leads to diarrhea, the leading cause of child death in the world. More people die each year from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war.

We have the power to change this!

Each well provides water for about 500 people for 20 years, and we’ll also provide hygiene and sanitation education to the youth and women of the village in order to help ensure the projects sustainability.

This will make a real and lasting difference for people who deserve our support.

All donations will go directly to E.P.I.C. for the water well, including materials, testing, labor, implementation, training and maintenance.

A tax deductible receipt is available for the first $3,000 pledged.

Powerful Leadership:

On a personal level, this trip will help me become a better leader, to further my mission of positively impacting 10 million people in the next three years through Game Quitters.

We can’t do it alone and we need your support! Together we can make a difference.

Give clean water by clicking Donate Now.

Thank you for your support!

P.S. If you want to contribute, but “don’t have any money”, consider the example Euls set by selling his in-game skins in order to pledge $35. *If you are underage please consult with your parents first!*

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world health organization logo transparent png

The World Health Organization has decided to recognize ‘gaming disorder’ in the ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases) later this year.

This news is a huge victory for those who struggle with gaming addiction or problematic gaming of some kind, and brings us one step closer to being able to provide them with the support they deserve.

This news is also a victory for gamers who don’t have challenges, because they can now game in peace. To recognize this disorder is not to pathologize gaming or further stigmatize gamers, nor is it to neglect other mental health concerns.

It’s simply to recognize that ‘gaming disorder’ has a specific criteria 1 1. ICD-11 6C71 Gaming Disorder × , and when assessed by a licensed professional, those who want help can receive it.

During this time it’s important to acknowledge that one of the main reasons people with an addiction or mental health challenge don’t seek help is due stigma 2 2. “The Benefits of Investing in Students’ Mental Health,” Kognito, 2015 × 3 3. “Colleges Don’t Always Help with Mental Health Issues,” Grasgreen, Allie, 2012 × 4 4. "Problem Gamers' Perceptions and Experiences of Therapy,” Driver, James, 2014 × – the fear of being judged, dismissed, or misunderstood. Recognizing ‘gaming disorder’ encourages those who want help to seek it without these fears.

I have to admit I was surprised to receive official recognition this soon, but grateful to know how many people it will help.

Thank you!

– Cam Adair
Founder, Game Quitters

P.S. For gamers looking for support, grab a copy of Respawn. For parents looking for support, grab a copy of Reclaim.

For additional comments by me on this decision, follow these links:

strong child

What means to be resilient? The capacity of being an independent, flexible, adaptive individual. Resiliency is all about self-efficacy and self-regulation. The fancy, modern way of being able to “get over it”, with more thought and science put into it than just grandpa’s stiff upper lip.

If your child is able to say “It’s ok” when you inform them they won’t be getting that Nintendo Switch they wanted so bad, congrats! That’s resiliency for you.

You may be thinking that resiliency would be a great trait for your son or daughter to have in a world where kids seem to be more susceptible to frustration and not having it their way all the time. It sure would have been an useful skill for us ex-gamers back in the time, instead of having resorted to video games to handle everything life threw at us.

However this goes beyond rejected expenditures in electronic merchandise, or people you don’t know making unwise life decisions in our childhoods.

Research shows that 50% of lifelong mental issues start before age 14, 75% before age 24.

Children who have better impulse control and the ability to manage stress tend to make better choices; they are also more liked, more integrated in their communities, and are at lower risk of struggling with issues like depression or substance abuse later in their adult lives.

A thorough approach to anything that helps your child’s early development is crucial for their wellbeing. There are myriads of different methods and approaches out there for the curious or concerned to explore, but what about the essentials?

In a recent interview with Dr. Denise MD, she recommended a “Holistic Health and Wellbeing Perspective”. In summary, Denise told us to pay extra attention to the core of any balanced life: Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep.

Eat a Plant-Based Diet

According to the doctor, a plant-based diet should be encouraged: things like nuts, fruits and vegetables, sometimes difficult or expensive to include in the diet yet ever so important.

And it’s not only what your children eats but how they do it as well: you may want to observe their digestion. Is something that looks completely harmless making their stomach hurt all the time? They may be intolerant, or the food heavy to digest. Take notice of the subtler details and make nourishment into a mindful ritual.

Consistent Exercise

There’s nothing to let nutrients sink in properly like exercise: that thing parents push their rowdy spawn to do, to keep them blessedly distracted during those awkward hours between the end of a school day and the next.

That may be a reason, in some cases a really good one, but exercise is mainly health thing. Not just to be good and look good, but also to feel good. Exercise helps the regulation (self-regulation) of emotions. When done right, it improves focus, the perception of self and the own body, and the release of dopamine improves mood while decreasing anxiety at the same time.

150 minutes, or 2 hours and half of moderate exercise per week should do; extracurricular activities are perfect for this. If you or your children are time-bound, 75 minutes of more rigorous exercise (for example in the weekends) works fine too.

children playing

Good Sleep

After your children are well fed and their health is in check, they deserve a good rest. Sleeping is essential for functioning, no screens should be allowed at least one hour before bedtime.

Exercise shouldn’t be done too late either; after a workout or sports session the basal temperature of the body increases, making it harder to fall asleep. Of course, caffeine (and for adults alcohol too) is not recommended.

And don’t use the bed to do homework or work. The brain works by associating concepts and turning them into habits: You want your brain, and your children’s brain, to link “bedroom” with “good sleep”. The best way to ensure your quality of life is to make a clear statement in your life and walk the walk; same hours, same actions.

All these are good suggestions, but what do they have to do with resiliency? Is resiliency acquired only by implementing good habits? Part of it, yes. But attitude is also essential.

Need help with your child’s gaming addiction?

Mindfulness and Positive Mindset

Awareness is the ability not to be alert (which is different) but to be present, fully experiencing the moment, especially when these moments are full with distractions, and distracting technology. 2 Ms come in handy: Mindfulness and Meditation.

Awareness can also play a critical role in mental and physical health; knowing your body and your thoughts makes detecting problems much easier.

Once these skills have been mastered into oneself, there is a social side of awareness to take into account.

Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude, the ability to, once the reality surrounding yourself is perceived, realizing how much in your favor you have, praise the good things in your life for what they are, since they may as well not be.

Encouraging this positive mindset into your child will foster in him a sense of generosity: Things are not so bad and life is not just about myself only. You should encourage them to get involved with others in a way they feel comfortable, to further expand their boundaries, promoting eye contact, active listening and involvement in conversations, asking for their opinions, and other useful, and healthy social skills.

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Relationship With Self

Lastly and above all, according to Denise, you should nurture their relationship with themselves. Teach them to accept themselves, reframe their hardships into opportunities. Every flaw and mistake is a chance of learning something new, improve and grow.

Every problem should be addressed from a position of kindness, forgiveness and understanding. This is not the same as permissiveness. Resiliency means to exert adaptive thinking: letting go of the past without judgement, and focus on what can be done better, expressed better, felt better, lived better.

This is what we call the “Hero” mindset (opposed to the “Victim” mindset). The capacity and the attitude to reflect and overcome every crisis that may and will come, learn from it, and thrive.

In today’s day and age, building resiliency in children is more important than ever. Follow the steps we’ve outlined above and you’ll be on track to help your child live a healthy and successful life.

Lost Your Child to Gaming?

I understand how you feel, because I was addicted to playing video games. In fact, I dropped out of high school, never went to college, and even wrote a suicide note. That is until I learned “why” I was so drawn to games. Today I’ve been game-free for seven years, and I’m finally reaching my full potential! Now I want to help your child do the same.

That’s why I’ve created Reclaim. I’ve taken my years of experience, and thousands of hours studying this subject, and distilled it to exactly what you need to know to help your child overcome their video game addiction.

Cam’s book Reclaim is brilliant and is highly needed. We strongly recommend Reclaim to parents seeking help and solutions for their kids struggling with digital media overuse. – Andrew Doan, MD, PhD (author, speaker, and neuroscientist) and Julie Doan, RN (author, speaker, and life coach)

LEARN MORE

fear of failure as a parent

Fear of failure is a normal part of being parent. You’re responsible, and want to do the best job you can. You want your child to have more opportunities than you did. You want to provide them with a better life.

But could your fear of failure as a parent be contributing to your child’s video game addiction?

Recently I sat down for dinner in Adelaide with a group of 15 parents and the conversation was enlightening for me in particular, because there was a consistent theme that kept coming up throughout the night: their desire as parents to ensure their kids did not fail.

To avoid that, they were taking care of every obstacle in the way of their child’s success. They were cooking for them, doing their laundry, and paying their bills.

But was this truly helping their children succeed?

Before I dive into that question, I want to recognize each of you for being incredible parents. You are doing your best, and your actions are coming from a deep sense of love you have for your kids. You should be acknowledged! Thank you.

I also want to state that I am not a parent and I am certainly not here to tell you how to parent. What I can do, however, is share with you my perspective based on the thousands of interactions I have with those addicted to video games – including my own experience going through the struggle – with the hope that my perspective helps you navigate your role as a parent in their lives.

Stop Removing Every Obstacle

So what does removing every obstacle in their path achieve? It create more space and time for your child to spend studying and being productive to become successful. Or at least that’s what your intention is.

The first problem with this is called Parkinson’s Law, a productivity principle that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. The more time you have to complete a task, the more time you will take to complete the task.

So your child comes home from school and has no other responsibilities for the night except to complete their homework. They have about six hours after school to get it done, so they think to themselves, “well my homework will only take me an hour, so I can game for a few hours first.”

We all know how that ends.

When they have less time to complete a task, they have no choice but to focus harder to get it done. They don’t have the luxury to waste time. By including them in chores or family responsibilities, you cut down the amount of time they have to waste gaming, or mindlessly watch YouTube videos.

A Safe Place to Fail

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The second problem with removing every obstacle in their way is that it creates a mindset that failure is bad. When failure is bad, failure creates pain, and pain is something we all want to avoid.

That’s not to say that failure is “good”, but failure is a very natural part of the growth and learning process, and that’s how it should be taught.

Allowing your child to fail gives them the opportunity to learn and grow. Allowing your child to fail allows them to cultivate a healthy relationship with failure, instead of an unhealthy one that needs to avoided.

One of the main reasons your child plays video games is because it’s a safe place for them to fail. If they die in the game they just press the restart button and try again. Life doesn’t work the same way, and failures in life feel more permanent.

If they apply for that job you’re asking them to apply for and they get rejected, that hurts. If they put effort into school and they fail, maybe they weren’t as smart as they thought. That hurts, especially for their ego.

Why put themselves out there like that when they can just avoid it and escape into video games instead?

If you find your child is gaming more than you’d like, or you’re concerned it has become a full-blown addiction, there are many variables that can be involved, but one of them is the relationship your child has with failure.

3 Steps You Can Take Today

1. Have a conversation with them about their perspective on failure.

How does failure make them feel? Do they believe failure is necessary to learn and grow? If they failed to achieve (something you’re asking them to do like apply for that job, go back to school, etc), what would they do? What could their plan for the “worst case scenario” be?

2. Include them in more household responsibilities and chores.

Have them make their own lunches, and do their own laundry. It will teach them independence and that is one of the best things you can do to help them become more responsible adults.

3. Become more comfortable with the idea of failure, and more willing to allow your child to fail.

That does not mean you should continue to enable them to game for 16 hours a day, it means to be more willing to set stronger boundaries. If that means your child needs to move out and risk failing on their own, then that’s ok.

Special thank you to the parent in Adelaide who hosted me for this parent night, and for the other parents who came to have an open and honest conversation. If you’d like to host a parent night in your area, please reach out and get in touch.

Lost Your Child to Gaming?

I understand how you feel, because I was addicted to playing video games. In fact, I dropped out of high school, never went to college, and even wrote a suicide note. That is until I learned “why” I was so drawn to games. Today I’ve been game-free for seven years, and I’m finally reaching my full potential! Now I want to help your child do the same.

That’s why I’ve created Reclaim. I’ve taken my years of experience, and thousands of hours studying this subject, and distilled it to exactly what you need to know to help your child overcome their video game addiction.

Cam’s book Reclaim is brilliant and is highly needed. We strongly recommend Reclaim to parents seeking help and solutions for their kids struggling with digital media overuse. – Andrew Doan, MD, PhD (author, speaker, and neuroscientist) and Julie Doan, RN (author, speaker, and life coach)

LEARN MORE

Today I sat down with Dr. Denise MD, a Child and Adult Psychiatrist to discuss how parents can ensure they don’t raise a bully:

Watch it below: How to Not Raise a Bully

A few key ideas from the video:

  • Teach your child how to communicate in the kindest way possible
  • Teach your child to pause before they hit send on their text messages or email.
  • Teach your child to be a citizen of the world, and to be friendly with the people around.
  • Teach your child to smile, make eye contact, and use more verbal communication
  • Teach your child about humanitarian values and altruism.
  • Teach your child to be a leader and set a positive example for their friends.

Lost Your Child to Gaming?

I understand how you feel, because I was addicted to playing video games. In fact, I dropped out of high school, never went to college, and even wrote a suicide note. That is until I learned “why” I was so drawn to games. Today I’ve been game-free for seven years, and I’m finally reaching my full potential! Now I want to help your child do the same.

That’s why I’ve created Reclaim. I’ve taken my years of experience, and thousands of hours studying this subject, and distilled it to exactly what you need to know to help your child overcome their video game addiction.

Cam’s book Reclaim is brilliant and is highly needed. We strongly recommend Reclaim to parents seeking help and solutions for their kids struggling with digital media overuse. – Andrew Doan, MD, PhD (author, speaker, and neuroscientist) and Julie Doan, RN (author, speaker, and life coach)

LEARN MORE

Cam Adair Instagram

Today marks 2,454 days since I quit playing video games, and I’m often asked why I don’t try to play in moderation.

Here’s why:

It’s not that I don’t think I could potentially play games in moderation… (although that’s a huge risk with how gaming warps the brain)…

But it’s because I don’t like the person I am when I’m gaming.

If I was gaming I would only do the bare minimum in my life to get by, so I could maximize the amount of “free time” I have to game.

I wouldn’t have gone surfing this morning, or be traveling in Byron Bay, Australia right now. I wouldn’t have that many friends, most likely no relationships, and certainly not my own business.

I would simply work whatever job I had to that would pay me enough money to pay my rent, and then I’d spend all the rest of my time playing. And that’s if I managed to even keep a job, or have my own apartment in the first place.

We know from research that there are alarming trends for the amount of men living at home, unemployed, and without partners, and with no interest in any of it! Is gaming the cause of all of this? Of course not.

Is Gaming Part of the Solution?

Now that’s the point. Are games good or bad… should you play in moderation or not…

All of it comes down to one simple truth: is gaming truly serving you? Or is it just a way for you to escape and check out from a life that you’re not very proud of?

Watch: How to Overcome Escapism

From the study we did with Dr. Daniel King, 60% of you reported that being able to escape in the game was hugely important. Which begs the question, what are you trying to escape from?

And is gaming helping you escape temporarily… or is it solving the problems you’re escaping from in the first place?

Only you know that answer.

The reason I don’t game is because it no longer serves me. Yes it was fun, and yes it was meaningful, but I no longer wanted to live my life doing the bare minimum. I actually wanted to accomplish something real, like to be happy… and realize my true potential.

At least in my case, the results speak for themselves. Aloha!

So what’s the answer for you? Leave yours in the comments below.

It’s Not Just Me

Chander, a member of our community, also realized gaming wasn’t serving him any longer and he decided to quit after finding himself punching walls, lying to his mom, and skipping class.

“This cold, dark piece of plastic that I could hold in my hand had changed me into someone I did not know.”

So what happened after he quit? Read Chander’s story here.

If you’re ready to quit gaming and turn your life around, commit to the 90 day detox and grab a copy of Respawn to help you succeed.

Join us on the forums and start a daily journal. The extra help from the community will make a huge difference for you.

– Cam

P.S. If you’d like to share your story to inspire others, submit it here.

Listen for free on: SoundCloud | Google Play | Stitcher | iTunes

In this episode of the Game Quitters Podcast we share an interview that happened recently on Soul Bro Radio. It’s a really interesting conversation that not only covers gaming addiction but other aspects we don’t always talk about on the podcast or in other interviews.

If you enjoyed this episode, please “like it”, leave a review, and subscribe to enjoy a new episode every Thursday!

Listen for free on: SoundCloud | Google Play | Stitcher | iTunes

In this episode of the Game Quitters Podcast we sit down with Jackie Knechtel, co-founder of the Flow Consciousness Institute to talk about how to create magic, including the story behind how Cam and Jackie somehow managed to find themselves at a beach house in Arrifana, Portugal with five bedrooms, a hot tub, pool, and ocean view.

If you enjoyed this episode, please “like it”, leave a review, and subscribe to enjoy a new episode every Thursday!

Connect with Jackie on the Flow Institute Consciousness.

Recommended Episode: