There is nothing that terrifies a parent more than the thought of losing a child.
For Elaine Uskoski that fear almost became her reality when she discovered that her son Jake was addicted to video gaming. An addiction that almost cost him his life.
With a bustling career as a successful Iridologist and nutritional expert, with her sons away at university, Elaine and her husband were enjoying their time as empty nesters.
That freedom was short lived and in 2014 her world came crashing down.
Jake had started university, living away from home for the first time. Elaine thought he was successfully managing his studies and new life, only to discover that he had been hiding a dangerous truth from her. He was carefully covering up his increasing compulsion to play video games.
With her characteristic focus and energy, Elaine threw herself into learning everything she could about video gaming addiction. Understanding the signs and symptoms so she could deduce how Jake’s gaming had turned from a fun hobby into a serious crisis.
She relied on her vast experience in social service work and 18 years’ experience in wellness to create a holistic plan to help her son recover both his physical and emotional well-being.
In the several years it took for Jake to learn how to manage his disorder and reclaim his life, Elaine learned much about how to parent her son through his addiction. She channeled this growth into her book, “ Seeing Through the Cracks” which details her experience. In retrospect, Elaine saw many signs that Jake, was not well and now sees that her ignorance, naivety and denial had created an environment of full on enabling.
Elaine speaks publicly, sharing her story and educating parents on the risk factors associated with this addiction. She has been featured on numerous media outlets including CBC’s The National, CBC Radio, The Wall Street Journal, CHCH Television and Rogers TV. Elaine is also a coach for parents, offering information, strategies and support in managing technology. Elaine is candid, honest and compassionate in the hope that she can inform people about the very real dangers of this 21st century problem.
Elaine is a member of the Balanced Management Technology Committee and a volunteer with Homewood Health Center in Guelph.
July 2020, Elaine has completed the Intenta Clinical Training for Gaming Disorders. This training provides a comprehensive understanding of problematic and disordered gaming allowing mental health professionals to understand the context, dynamics, mechanisms and special issues that present with gaming clients.