Video Game Addiction – WHO

Video Game Addiction

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Recently WHO (World Health Organization) announced that they will be including “gaming disorder” as a mental disease in 2018, alongside the likes of gambling and alcohol addiction.

How Did This Come About?

Many Experts debated if “gaming disorder” was actually a thing. A 2009 study in a Physological Journal estimated that 8.5% of youth who played video games in the US, showed behavioral signs of addiction.

Some believe that its very similar to drug and alcohol addiction, which could explain why publishers like EA and Activision are trying to create a ‘Games As Service’ model. Meaning they want people to keep playing and paying.

Others like Chris Ferguson argue that WHO’s decision was “poorly thought out”, stating “gaming is often used as a coping mechanism for these problems”.

However, I’ll have to disagree with Chris. Gaming has been around for more than a few decades, which has given us plenty of time to “think about” gaming addiction and how it could impact on our lives.

Take World Of Warcraft for example, which was released in 2004 by Blizzard. It was one of the early MMO titles which featured a payed subscription fee in order to play continuously. This resulted in many people being invested for longer hours because it had been given a real world value now.

You couldn’t just stop playing, otherwise you would’ve wasted your money. The game was also expansive which helped enhance those addictive qualities.

I think everyone knew that, including Southpark…

My point is everything can be addictive, and there were no “poorly thought out” decisions. People (myself including) are different and we all react differently.

I play games all the time, and I know the effects it could potentially have on me if I wound up being too invested in a game.

I think the reason its only being recognized now, is due to the huge rise in predatory practices in gaming; that saw an increased understanding among the mainstream public.

How Is It Identified

According to the WHO scientific and research journal, “Gaming Disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior” stating, “to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities”.

Don’t panic if your man (or lady) is showing these signs for a day or two though, It’d have to be going on for a “period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned”.

Video Games also have some benefits!

The Future

Technology can be dangerous. Think back to a time, where there were no phones or computers. Did you see an increased level of interaction between you and your friends and family?

Steve Jobs in an interview said that he didn’t allow his kids to use IPad’s because he recognized that they were “too dangerous in effect”…

Step In The Right Direction

WHO is taking the step in the right direction, nothing can be taken lightly or ridiculed because we are always rapidly advancing. It takes time for humans to adjust to new environments, so I think trying to manage it now will only benefit our societies growth.

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Take care guy’s and have a great day!










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14 Replies to “Video Game Addiction – WHO

  1. The idea of gaming being an addiction makes sense, but I’m wondering what they would advise the “cure” is. I would hate to think people will be prescribed drugs for playing games instead of simply being force to face their lives and fix what’s wrong. But I do have to agree, I’ve seen this addiction along with addiction to tv or couch sitting in general. I always thought of it as simply a sign of depression. I guess they would have to isolate it if there’s a large incidence of it. Interesting article.

    1. They haven’t released much information in the ‘draft research journal’ but I hope the cure is support networks like psychologists and not drugs. I think that’d promote the wrong message.

      Thanks for the comment Jamie:)

  2. Interesting read Jeremy! As an educator, I was aware of many debates surrounding video games such as this (as well as the “do video games make kids violent” debate) but I was not aware that the WHO has actually recognized this as a disorder.

    I’ll have to agree with you here; I believe this can be an addition, just like drugs, alcohol etc. This, like other addictive substances/activities can start out as a distraction or coping mechanism and easily spiral downward.

    Thanks for the information!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Britney:) I guess the main reason would be that you can’t expect someone not to react differently to a certain situation.

      So I think it’s important we have some form of support network.

      Take care!

  3. That is about time! How can people think this is not an issue? Social media in general is getting out of control! Obviously you always get that dopamin hit when you receive a text or anything like that so it´s totally the same like any other drug..

    Anyway! Gaming is fun, just know your limits. Same with alcohol and other stuff 🙂

    Be safe!

    1. Great comment Manny, I think if people can control there limits and stop things from spiralling out of control, it can be a very enjoyable and useful tool!

      Take care mate.

    1. It’s a scary prospect but technology is highly addictive. We as humans are quite dependent on it to live in civilisation today and it’ll only keep growing…

  4. Hi Jeremy. Here are my thoughts on this, Gaming is fun to play but only in moderation. like everything else in life, too much of one thing is bad, but these are peoples choices and decisions so it’s up to the person what they want to do.

    1. Yeah good point Michael, it’s all based on the individual to choose how they want to spend their time like you said, I think it’s just finding that balance which would be more beneficial.

  5. Good article! I definitely agree that gaming can be an addiction, just like many other things. I have seen some negative effects/addictive tendencies from gaming. Growing up, the odd times that I did get to play a video game, it was difficult to put it down and do something else during that time. What happened to those days when kids were always playing outside ect? In this day and age with the advances in technology, so many kids out there are on ipads, phones, or other gaming devices ect. This tends to cause demotivation to do anything else, in using their imaginations and creativity. Teaching/learning moderation and limits are very crucial, especially in the early ages.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Anna! The problem is kids are spending more time inside, which I think means that they’ll potential be a higher risk of developing bad health habits

  6. Hi,
    finding the correct balance between addiction and playing for fun is a challenge people face. Especially young people are falling into the gaming addiction, which, as you stated, is a deep state of not being able to come out so easily. Just this week I was at a conference where they talked about the addiction of gaming and social media. I think we can all fall prey to it, but it all depends on what the person wants.

    Social interaction nowadays is a challenge, because technology is always accessible and therefore it is easy not to interact with people.

    Great article,

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