Cover Image: How to Raise a Healthy Gamer

How to Raise a Healthy Gamer

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Member Reviews

I didn’t realize this book was written for parents of kids who are already addicted to gaming, I thought it was advice for how to prevent that. For that reason I DNFd, but I’m sure this will help many other parents whose kids are already obsessed with gaming.

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Thank you NetGalley Ang Dr K!

This book was just what I needed. I’m raising 2 gamers age 10 and 7. I thought the advice given and behavioral cases was spot on backing the science of addiction. It gave great insight in reinforcing healthy boundaries and breaking addiction for gamers as well as communication strategies for my kids.

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Thank you NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

As a parent of a 12 year old, I do believe this will be exceptionally helpful. I'm exciting to give this a try and am hopefully of our results!

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How to Raise a Healthy Gamer is an interesting and well written monograph by Dr. Alok Kanojia on the challenges of balancing screen engagement, especially in a family dynamic (which often comes down to parents nagging kids to log off and interact with the real world). Released 12th March 2024 by Penguin Random House on their Rodale Books imprint, it's 304 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout.

The author does a good job of arranging the information (and there's a *lot* of info here) in logical progressive chapters where the info is easy to find. He explains the background psychology (understanding) in layman accessible terms, followed by chapters on communication (talk), and making and implementing plans for healthy online time (act). He also discusses troubleshooting, what to expect, timelines, as well as some ways neurodivergence (ADHD, autism spectrum, depression/anxiety, and possible substance abuse issues) can impact progress.

The author/publisher have also included appendices: timelines and working prompts to help the process, a solid bibliography with chapter note references.

The book is aimed at parents who are not medical professionals, and as such is quite easy to understand and utilize. It's a different method of interaction which places a great deal of emphasis on empathy, communication, and understanding (and openness), rather than forcing, nagging, punishing, and negative communication patterns.

Four and a half stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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5 ⭐️ +++
Parental gold. A MUST READ!

🎓 Schools should give this to parents of rising kindergartners.
🍼 Parents-to-be should get this as a baby shower gift.
🎅🏼 This should be in every stocking for parents that have mentioned struggling with their children focusing or wanting to do anything other than YouTube/Gaming, etc. (me 🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️)

Even if your child isn’t (yet) obsessed with gaming, the psychology is worth knowing to help prevent it.

📖 I was already impressed with this book within the first chapter - What Makes Gaming So Addictive (the Neurochemistry). Seriously, the psychology behind this really proves the addictive qualities and how it shapes our youth.

😱 So much helpful insight, like studies showing that having a game in a child’s room increases usage of up to 50 percent.

🫡 This book helps parents to come from a place of understanding, both for the psychology of it and your child’s drive for it, get on the same team as your child, and create a better environment with boundaries, structure and healthy habits.

🩺 It even covers topics like ADHD, Autism and Marijuana as it pertains to gaming addiction.

❌ What this book does NOT do, is tell you to take away gaming completely. That’s not what this is about, and it even discourages that.

😳 There were some extremely eye opening parts, including how much we enable kids to be less responsible, without realizing what we are doing. There is also a really great cheat sheet in the appendix to refer back to as a reference guide.

Thanks to NetGalley, Rosalie, Inc., and Alok Kanojia MD MPH for providing me with a complimentary ARC to review!

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When you're passionate about something, it shows. Dr. Kanojia has written a great resource for parents and educators on the state of video game addiction. Nothing dry here, plenty of personal experience shared, accessible explanations, and actionable points. Much-needed resource for public libraries.

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To say my hype was off the charts for not only seeing this available on NetGalley but also accepted as an early reviewer would be an understatement. (With that, I did receive this book for free in exchange for an honest review!) I am a MASSIVE fan of Dr. K and Healthy Gamer. I think him and his team do such amazing and life changing work. Hilarious timing how I was lamenting to my mom not too long ago about how disappointed I was that he hadn't yet written a book, and here it is! (And I hope there are many more!)

Speaking as someone who is NOT in the target audience for this book (I am not a parent at all, let alone of any gamers), I still found I got a LOT out of this book. Putting aside having a nephew who is getting really into gaming, there is SO MUCH in this book that can apply to, well, anything other than gaming. These are all basic psychological concepts that are used with gaming in mind, but if you're familiar enough with psychology, or really take your time with this book, keep an open mind, and see how these concepts may apply outside of gaming, there is so much knowledge to take away here that could be generally helpful to one's life.

With that, I could see this being a book I'd say every parent should read in general. It covers gaming addiction, but it could be applied to other media addictions or issues too. TV, social media, etc. Even just dealing with setting boundaries or ground rules in your household. The bare bones of the book is communicating and trying to understand your child. Building bridges to work together to cross over and reach goals (both yours AND, importantly, theirs too!). Treat them like an actual person, no matter their page, and let them feel like their thoughts and feelings matter. Something I think a LOT of adults dismiss about children.

Dr. K also goes into detail about ADHD, autism, depression, anxiety, and marijuana addiction on top of just gaming addiction, and how those things can overlap or even make things worse or more difficult for someone. (Again, replace "games" with other things, and this book covers a LOT!) As someone with depression and anxiety disorders, and suspected ADHD, I definitely felt heard reading those sections of the book. He does a fantastic job explaining these topics and gives parents really great suggestions on approaching how to deal with children with these afflictions.

Along with that, Dr. K also discusses what to do with other adults in the child's life, such as a spouse or ex, grandparents, and the child's friend's parents. Really lots of great advice there too. If not everyone is on board to make changes, it can cause a lot of cracks to fall into, and Dr. K does his best to give you the resources you need to build a solid foundation from the get-go.

"Fact: From a neuroscientific perspective, gamers are actually more immature than non-gamers."

Knowing that his audience is largely gamers, as that is his brand image, I just found this line to be hilarious. He's not wrong, but, you know xD

"[...] the more we strive--or intervene in our kid's lives--to keep them from failing, the more easily they will give up the responsibility to do things for themselves."

Speaking from personal experience here, I was extremely babied by my parents growing up, and having to break out of that helplessness-mindset has been one of the most difficult things for me to do. I super appreciate how much discussion the author put here in laying out how completely coddling a child can have long-term negative side effects.

"If I'm sailing a boat, and I change my course by just one degree, after a year of traveling, I'll end up in a completely different place than if I hadn't made that slight course correction. That's our goal."

I love how much hope and optimism there is in this book. Again, while I'm not a parent, that quote in general can apply to so many things. He's not unrealistic about the work it will take to get there, it for sure isn't a simple or quick process, but it's doable, and he certainly does his best in making you feel capable in achieving it.

Appendixes in the book give quick overviews for skimming and getting reminders in case there are details you've forgotten or need help with, along with a potential timeline to follow.

Overall, such a fantastic read! I didn't want to rush through it since it was so much to digest. (I took so many screenshots to save for later. You could spend countless hours writing notes and journaling from this book--kids or no kids, gaming addiction or no, haha.) It was a nice way to sort of hold a mirror to myself as well. I definitely recommend this book, and Dr. K's YouTube channel HealthyGamerGG! So glad I was able to get a copy, I'll for sure be picking up copies of this to others in my life no doubt. :)

Notes to Publisher/Editors:
-Nit pick, but I would alter this sentence to avoid the repetition of "end" in the introduction: "In the end, I ended up graduating with about a 2.5 GPA."
-Personal preference, but I'm not big on quotes, like the stand out ones that repeat what is already in the text. I get why it's done in articles, for people who skim, but in a book, it does feel more awkward. Especially if the quote repeats the line literally right before it, which happens a few times here.
-When bringing up the 25% rule, there is an extra "As" in the sentence: "Instead of 'Straight As in school As, getting to bed on time, dinner as a family every night--[...]"

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Thank you Netgalley for the chance to read How To Raise A Healthy Gamer and to Rodale books, and Alok Kanojia,MD, MPH.

I found this book on Netgalley and I felt like it was made for me as a parent. I have a 12 year old boy. Need I say more? In today's world are we doing what we should with electronics? Are our kids getting to much electronics? Are they being exposed to too much violence? These are questions I ask my child's doctora and I do get different answers. I get feedback from a "old school professional grandmother" saying I am doing it all wrong when doctors say it is fine. So this book I will read and thank you for writing it!

Now about the book. This book goes into great detail at why our kids love video games. Also about why their minds tend to be tontrolled over video games because they are exposed to not just video games on the topic but you tube and Tiktok as well.

This book can help us as parents to break our children's addiction to electronics. It's our guide. But the good thing it it helps us to teach our kids to use them as a healthy gamer not as social connection which is unhealthy.

I think I would like to give this a try with my son. Am I scared yes I am! Can we all work together and do this yes. I thing a book with a step by step guide is a fantastic idea and I'm so glad a person was caring enough to make that happen.

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I appreciated the advice and perspective of someone who both is raising children and enjoys video games and wants to teach balance and moderation.

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How to Raise A Healthy Gamer is the book every millennial parent needs. It can be hard to find a balance between video games and the rest of life. As a family who cut out most video game time last summer a plan like this would have been helpful. I especially appreciate the chapter on autism as it did create a unique struggle as we cut back on technology.

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“How to Raise a Healthy Gamer” by Alok Kanojia, MD, MPH is a great book for parents to understand their children’s needs with gaming. Gaming can be fun, and a child can play without any complications in their lives but for many young gamers they struggle with balance and emotions involved with gaming. This guide is perfect for many ideas on how to handle it and the steps you can take in order to help with any gaming problems. The book has information on why gaming is addictive, adapting parents, building alliances, communication, boundaries, dealing with resistance, mental health concerns, ADHD, autism, depression and anxiety, drugs, etc. I loved how many great ideas there are to try to manage gaming issues in children but also not vilifying videogames as all bad. I have a young son and though right now there isn’t a problem it was good to read this, so I have tools in case any issues arise. I gave the book a 5 out of 5 stars, so useful and practical.

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A very fun and helpful read! I appreciate that this book exists, because I think gaming gets such a bad reputation. I understand that many struggle with gaming as an addiction, but when parents refuse to educate themselves on gaming and the positivity it can bring, it can be very harmful to their children.

How to Raise a Healthy Gamer highlights that video games aren't the enemy, and that you can have a healthy gamer while maintaining clear, kind lines of communication with your child.

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