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About Practical Parenting Strategies with Dr. Heller

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist and founding partner with The Heller Psychology Group LLC, which is a small private practice located in Bethesda, Maryland near Montgomery Mall. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Heller conducts play, individual, and family psychotherapy for a variety... Read more

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Too Much Video Game Time?

These days, most children and adolescents play video games. Some are more interested in sports games such as Madden Football or NBA 2K13, while others are most interested in more violent games such as Black Ops, Grand Theft Auto, or other similar games. While children and adolescents can often spend countless hours playing video games, those who play the more violent action games tend to have more difficulty separating themselves from the games. Nonetheless, there are also some positive things that can be gained from playing video games in general as well as certain types of games.

Here are a few suggestions to help you manage video game time with your child/adolescent:

1) Determine if your child/adolescent seems to be playing video games more than you would like. If so, examine whether or not their playing video games impedes their ability to complete tasks at home, schoolwork, or inhibits them from making plans with friends or engaging in other activities of interest. If so, regulating their video game playing time may be helpful.

2)If you decide that your child/adolescent’s video game playing time needs to be reduced due to the above-mentioned issues occurring, talk with your child/adolescent about your concerns. Then ask them how many hours they feel is appropriate to play each day. Have an idea of what you think is reasonable, and work collaboratively if possible to try to reach a compromise on number

Dr. Carey Heller: Clinical Psychologist and founding partner of The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Carey Heller: Clinical Psychologist and founding partner of The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

of hours that they can play each day. Also look at what time of day they play and consider setting certain times where they are allowed to play. For instance, perhaps they could be allowed to play for 30 minutes right after school and another hour after dinner, as long as their homework is complete.

3)Evaluate the positives that can be gained from playing video games. For some children/adolescents, video games can be a good way to unwind, relax, and get out aggression. When playing with friends or online, it can have some social benefits as well. Children/adolescents who have social skill deficits or few friends sometimes find comfort in being able to connect with other children/adolescents online while playing games. It can also help improve your child/adolescent’s self-esteem. Furthermore, if your child/adolescent’s friends are all playing certain games, it can provide your child/adolescent the ability to connect with peers at school by being able to talk about the video games.

4) If your child/adolescent displays significant issues when not being allowed to play video games and keeps sneaking around to do so, it is important to determine if a possible addiction is present. Seeking a psychologist or other mental health professional is helpful in these situations.

I hope these suggestions are helpful!

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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship,  and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*


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Carey Heller, Psy.D.

About Carey Heller, Psy.D.

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. He works with children, adolescents, and young adults, providing psychological/psychoeducational evaluations and individual psychotherapy. Dr. Heller specializes in ADHD, executive functioning issues, and Autism Spectrum Disorder and is happy to answer questions and provide consultations for individuals who are considering pursuing treatment or an evaluation for their child, adolescent, or themselves. Dr. Heller can be reached directly at 301.385.2610 or For appointments, please call the office at (301) 385-2610 or email The Heller Psychology Group at with your contact information and availability for appointment times.


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