The jury is out on whether video games are safe for children. Experts agree, however, that too much time spent playing video games can be unhealthy for kids of all ages. In general, you should be worried if your child spends more than 30 hours a week playing video games or if other areas of his or her life, such as grades or friends, have suffered. If you suspect that your child may be addicted to video games, here are five strategies to help wean him or her from the screen.

1. Set Limits--and Stick to Them

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids should have no more than two hours of screen time per day, including television and video games. Utilize the parental controls on your kids' devices to make sure that when the time is up, their gaming time is over. Although your kids might balk, especially if they haven't had limits in the past, this is an essential part of parenting.

2. Make It a Family Affair

Make sure that any systems your kids use to play games are in a common family area. This allows you to keep an eye on any objectionable content they may be experiencing during gameplay. And if you make video gaming a fun, family activity, it gives you extra time to connect with your kids as well. If you come across games with violent content, try selling them on a site like http://www.decluttr.com and letting your kids choose more appropriate games.

3. Provide Alternatives

You may have let the amount of time your kids spend playing video games slide because you don't want to hear the dreading "I'm bored." However, making sure that your kids have plenty of alternatives to gaming that you can pull out when their time is up. For example, encourage participation in sports and other activities, more free-form forms of exercise, and socializing with friends--not to mention reading.

4. Change Up the Types of Games

Instead of limiting video games outright, spend some time researching educational games that your child may enjoy. These types of games challenge the brain and encourage critical thinking. You can also stress time with games that have a physical component, allowing your child to get up and move around, getting some exercise while also enjoying his or her favorite activity.

5. Set a Good Example

You may not even realize it, but if you spend a lot of time on your smartphone or tablet, your kids may be picking up on your signals. By putting down your phone while you're spending time with your kids, you send the message that they are more important than your work or socializing. Having dedicated family time without the screens is a great way to help break the cycle of video game addiction.

While it may take time and persistence, setting limits and sticking to them, as well as getting involved in the games your child is playing, will help wean your child off the video game addition for the long haul.

Author's Bio: 

Karleia is a freelance blogger.