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Casual concerns: Doctors see children obsessed with gambling for health problems

Many parents have problems with children who are addicted to the Fortnite video game.

Doctors in the area now tell Chris Flanagan, a reporter at Boston 25 News, that they have seen young players with health issues that only appear in adults.

Hundreds of millions of users play at Fortnite. There is even speculation that excessive play would have made Red Sox pitcher David Price lose a start against the New York Yankees in the 2018 season.

But the 8-year-old mother of Aiden Molina is worried about her son. Aiden is obsessed with Fortnite.

"When I think of Fortnite, it's like my life, because when I play a lot, I have a lot of eliminations," Aiden said.

The second Haverhill grader is hooked and said to play the game for hours. Aiden's mother, Christen St. Pierre, admits that she is leading a losing battle in advance against the hugely popular video game.

"My son plays at Fortnite most of the time, every day," she said. Saint-Pierre said the game was wreaking havoc on his family. "I thought Fortnite, oh, it's like any other game. But no, it's like changing their behavior, their attitude, the challenge," St. Pierre said.

According to Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, more than 200 million players are registered. Fortnite is free to download and is constantly updated with new features. If you are not eliminated, each game lasts only 20 minutes. The players return in a loop, which makes things easier over long periods.

Dr. Lynne Karlson is a pediatrician general at Floating For Children Hospital at Tufts Medical Center.

She said she sees more and more patients in trouble because of video games, especially Fortnite, including common problems in adults, from carpal tunnel to sedentary obesity.

"It's a major handicap in their lives, because it makes them sleepy, they often play late at night or get up early in the morning and they do not get enough sleep," said Dr. Karlson. .

Epic Games now has a forum on its website, which discusses young players, dealing with high blood pressure due to gambling.

"I've had kids who are angry and I'm sure their blood pressure has gone up for at least this period," said Dr. Kate Roberts. Dr. Roberts is a psychologist who practices in Wenham. She has witnessed an increase in the number of children treated for an addiction to Fortnite. Dr. Roberts said the game could change the personality and behavior of a child if he was allowed to play unlimited time.

"What's happening is that they're starting to feel like it.If they play more than two hours, they get into this addictive mode.The dopamine in their brains starts to react to that." and then when they come out, they have a decrease in dopamine, basically it makes them angry, irritable, withdrawn, "said Dr. Roberts.

For the first time, the World Health Organization has identified gambling disorder as a mental disorder.

>> RELATED: Can the game become a real addiction?

It's something that Christen St. Peter said he saw first-hand with his second-year son, Aiden.

"He really needs to get out because his behavior and attention span are gone," she said.

Dr. Karlson recommends limiting the filtering time of a child to two hours a day. If your child exhibits signs of isolation or depression because of Fortnite, seek the help of a professional. You can also regulate your child's playtime and in-app purchases through parental control of the phone and most devices.

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