Relax, Parents: Very Few Players Have "Gaming Disorder"

posted by Mary Booth - 

Those of us who DON'T play video games may not understand how addicting this can be.  Or what it takes to actually be classified as "addicted" to gaming.  

One of my kids spends a lot of his time playing sports video games and of course, Fortnite.  But he still manages to make it to class and baseball practice on time, so I'm not worried.   It's a release for him.

And I have heard about kids who are playing video games while watching videos of people playing video games, but again, they still make it to school and work.  They're really into gaming, but they're not "lost" in them.

But today there's word that the WHO (World Health Organization) is classifying video game addiction as a mental health condition and I'm sure there will be a lot of parents who automatically think "this is my kid" without really looking at what they're considering an addiction. 

"Gaming Disorder" has been added to the new edition of the "International Classification of Diseases."  It's marked by gaming taking precedence over most everything else, leading to social and personal dysfunction.

This is what they're saying about diagnosing the disorder:

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.

They also make it clear that they're only talking about a small number of players--

Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. However, people who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behaviour.

Not many people are going to read all the research.  They just see that the WHO has declared that "Gaming Disorder" is a thing.  Which could lead to a lot of parents panicking and taking away the video games (and of course, that could lead to a loss of $$ for those who make money off said games, too).

It's getting a little testy on Twitter, to say the least.   

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