CMH Video Game Decision Tree



*Developed in partnership with  Amend Neurocounseling*Developed in partnership with  Amend Neurocounseling

*Developed in partnership with Amend Neurocounseling

how much gaming is too much?

One of the #1 questions we get asked is how to manage video games…. and the hangovers that come with them. In Episode 3 of #thescreensanitypodcast, we asked neurotherapist Susan Dunaway for help. Her answer? BEHAVIOR CHANGE.

If your child is able to transition off his game calmly and go about his day, you’ve likely found an appropriate time limit for him (or her.) But. Anytime he responds with a behavior change–irritability, decreased concentration, arguments and meltdowns–that’s a good sign that his brain is overloaded, and next time you need to reduce the time limit.

tips for using this tool:

  • Unlike the Ataris of the past–which had a limited number of challenges and stages–today’s games reward the brain for staying engaged as long as possible. So, whether your child sets his own timer or you set it for him (or her), make sure the “finish line” is a number of minutes that doesn’t overload his brain, allowing him to transition calmly to the next activity.

  • The magic number of minutes is going to vary from family to family, and it can also be affected by the size of the screen, the intensity of the game, the socialization of the game, the age of your child, and any special needs your child might have. (We’ve penciled in some examples in case it is helpful.)

  • The best way to determine a healthy amount of minutes for your child is to notice their behavior at the finish line–and adjust accordingly next time they play.

  • Hint: Print the full download out to help them understand this concept– and hang it near the gaming station as a reminder of what you are striving for!




Did you know?

At START, we are not only hearing from teachers that social media and games invade the school-time hours that had acted as a buffer to screen time pre-COVID, but the data shows the effect. In July 2020, a report was released by Qustodio (a device-filtering company), revealing trends and insights on children’s screen-time habits during the pandemic, known as the “COVID Effect.” Since March 2020, the average child in the U.S. now watches nearly 100 minutes of YouTube per day, a child in the U.K. spends nearly 70 minutes on TikTok per day, a child in Spain plays Roblox over 90 minutes a day, and 100% more children everywhere are spending time learning online. These increases are not ever expected to return to pre-pandemic levels, but only increase as industries become more aggressive and competitive in their vy for children’s attention.