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Gaming disorder: under the microscope

What is gaming disorder?

Under the microscope: Shutterstock

What is gaming disorder?

It is a pattern of persistent or recurrent computer game behaviour that is so severe that it takes “precedence over other life interests”, according the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Is this in the news?

Yes, the WHO has revealed that gaming disorder will be listed as a mental health condition for the first time in its 11th International Classification of Diseases, which is due to be published later this year.

What will it say?

It will suggest that abnormal gaming behaviour should be in evidence over a period of at least 12 months for a diagnosis to be assigned. However, it will go on to add that this period might be shortened if symptoms are severe.

What are the symptoms?

They include impaired control over gaming (frequency, intensity and/or duration), increased priority given to gaming, and continuation or escalation of gaming, despite negative consequences.

What has been done so far to deal with this?

Some countries had already identified it as a major public health issue. Many of these, including the UK, have private addiction clinics to “treat” the condition.

Have any countries taken it further?

The South Korean government has banned children under 16 from accessing online games between midnight and 6am. While in Japan, players are alerted if they spend a certain amount of time each month playing games. In China the internet giant Tencent has limited the hours that children can play its games.


Picture credit | Shutterstock

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