Video Game Addiction is Now Recognized by the World Health Organization

Video games can be addicting. I remember a lot of my twenties lost to Guitar Hero and World of Warcraft. Fortunately though my love of video games never reached addiction.

Within the last ten years you have stories about parents neglecting to feed their children because of being stuck on a game. For example in 2010 there was an instance where parents three month old infant starved to death while raising a virtual child. The problem became so bad that Ranker even put out a list of the “Top 8 Most Fatally Negligent Gamer Parents of All Time“. There are articles about recognizing gaming addiction in children and an On-line Gamers Anonymous to help those who are currently struggling with gaming addiction.

In September 2018 the World Health Organization(WHO) officially recognized Gaming Disorder and paved the way for those in need to finally be able to seek the help that they need. The newly recognized disorder has been defined in the 11th edition of The International Classification of Diseases which the basis of identification of global health trends and is the go to for medical practitioners throughout the world. The criteria for Gaming Disorder is:

“a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

“For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.”

Recently in a statement from Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa he addressed the problem by saying that parental controls that they have implemented should help to combat obsessive gaming. He stated, “I think the problem of game addiction is more about becoming overly dependent on video games than is about any issues with the games themselves.”

A lot of people who suffer from depression and other struggles also are predispositioned to have a need for escapism. Escapism could potentially be the one reason that video game disorder has become so prominent in current culture. While the WHO states that “only a small portion” of the world’s population are effected by gaming disorder, everyone should be aware of the signs so that loved ones can catch symptoms early enough to combat them.

What do you think of this classification of disorder? Tell Nerdbot in the comments!

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