I am involved in an online social media group that helps support parents through some of the frustrations of living with their video gaming addicted child. These excessive gamers are mostly teenage boys and young men. Some families are still unsure as to how to broach the topic of addiction and start the detox process in their home, some are in the heat of a battlefield and getting nowhere in trying to get things under control. Other families have begun the detox period with their child and are experiencing the detrimental effects of withdrawal. All of them are loving parents, mostly moms, who just want the best for their offspring, and are saddened that things have gotten so out of hand with the onslaught of technology and video gaming we’ve seen in the last several years.

As a parent who has been through the crisis of video gaming addiction, with my youngest son, and have had success with supporting him through recovery, I offer them words of comfort in the form of sharing what worked best for my situation, as I cheer lead and encourage them to not give up on them self or their child.

Recently, one mother posted a request, from others in the group, asking them to provide her with gift ideas, that are non-tech, to purchase for her son for Christmas. This is a common dilemma for parents struggling to provide entertainment that has no relation to video gaming. For many children they have only know screen time games as their main source of recreation. And as the online, multi-player gaming industry has grown, this has also become their focused social community. So, what else can they do?

Well, as it turns out, when we all put our heads together and share ideas, it seems there are many other options available. I want to share the list of gift ideas that were shared by the group. Maybe this will make it easier for those parents who are still stuck and need to finish their holiday shopping list.

Gift certificates for experiences was a common theme:

Paintball, Laser Tag, Escape Rooms, Table Tennis, Rock Climbing, Movies, Amusement or Water Parks, Trampoline Parks, Music Concerts, and Sporting Events.

Interactive toys that can be experienced solo or with friends was also popular:

Remote Cars or Trucks, Nerf Guns, Bow and Arrows with Target, Lego, Board Games, Kiwico Building Sets, Chess Set, Magic Cards, Dungeons and Dragons Strategy Games, Art Supplies, and even a Camera.

And then there are physical fitness items to enjoy:

Dirt Bike, Bicycle or Skateboard (with helmet), Trampoline, Snowboard or Skis (with lessons), Hiking Bag with a Tent, Gym Memberships, Tennis Racquet, Basketball Net, Baseball Glove or any other sports equipment.

Last, but not least on the list is, of course books, a musical instrument with lessons, and, as well, the companionship and responsibility in the care of a pet cat, dog, rabbit, or bird.

The transition from playing many hours a day, or night on video games to engaging into a video-screen-free world can be difficult for both the addicted child and their families. With some time, compassion, rules, and boundaries, and the introduction to the many other activities available, this can be a great time for personal growth, self-confidence, and the discovery of new skills and talents for a young person.

Happy shopping! And Happy Holidays to everyone.