Dear Amy: My 18-year-old son is addicted to online gaming. He is in his first year of community college full time and living at home. He is failing his classes, spending all of his time gaming, does no homework, forgets to eat and plays all night instead of sleeping.
Until he was 18, we limited his computer time. But now we keep waiting for him to regulate it or work it out for himself. It's not happening. What should we do? -- Worried Parents
Dear Parents: Online gaming is your son's drug of choice. The natural consequence of your son's addiction is that he will not be able to find success in the actual world until he deals with his issues.
You need to have a heart-to-heart with him, and let him know how worried you are and what his choices are at this point.
Your son should be evaluated by a mental health practitioner with experience in treating gamers; he may have underlying issues or difficulties that make him lean toward gaming to the exclusion of everything else.
Your son won't be able to modulate his behavior until he faces his compulsion.
Because he failed his classes, he should not return to school. He is not ready to pursue a college education. You should restrict online access at your home and help him look for a job.
For insight into this challenging issue, read "Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap," by Kevin Roberts (Hazelden Publishing, 2010).