The Effects of Video Games on the Brain

Children who have difficulty with impulse control and regulating emotional responses often feel a sense of calmness when playing video games. It’s as if all their troubles and worries, excessive energy, fast-moving thoughts, and sense of boredom disappear. So, we can understand why kids are drawn to video games. However, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that’s not so helpful.

Electronic Pollution: What’s happening to my brain?   

  • Hormonal disturbance (melatonin, and fight or flight hormones – Amygdala)
  • Neurochemical dysfunction (release and then depletion and withdrawal of dopamine – Basal Ganglia)
  • Disorganization of circadian rhythms (sleep-wake cycle)
  • Electromagnetic radiation due to screens, downloading, and electricity
  • Movement of blood flow away from the frontal lobe and cortex, which govern executive functioning and higher order thought processes.

Excerpted from

Typical Responses

  • Time management problems
  • Complaints of being “bored”
  • Decreased interest in other activities
  • Agitated/irritable mood when asked to stop playing
  • Resistance to authority due to feeling deprived of video games
  • Cravings for more video games

From Pollution to Solution: How to manage screen time

  • Provide structure – keep organized and consistent time frames for use
  • Screen time comes after daily tasks are accomplished
  • Incorporate educational games into screen time to reduce the repetitive and over-stimulating influence of other games Increase outdoor activity
  • Have a variety of engaging activities available
  • Join your child in starting these activities, if he/she is having trouble getting started independently

The Questions that Come with Adoption

The following article was written for from an interview conducted with Family Resource Counseling Center therapist Lisa Cobey, LMFT.

The original article can be viewed at:

I was adopted, day 1 minute 1 after being born – my Mother, not my biological Mother, was actually the first one to hold me. Many people have asked me about when I was told I was adopted. The truth is, I don’t remember. There was no ‘big reveal’, it was something I always knew – I was told about it in a positive light for as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact, it was always told to me in such a positive light that the only ‘big adoption moment’ I remember is finding out that my Mom wasn’t adopted herself.

(…and thinking – what?! Poor her – does she feel less special?!)