Since the World Health Organization recently claimed that gaming was an addiction, many titles have come under attack, including the most recent focus: Fortnite. Though technically anything can be considered addictive, the fact that gaming has once again come under fire for being the reasoning behind atrocious acts of violence, the spotlight on the "negative" side of gaming is under a brighter spotlight than ever before. Since the WHO classified "gaming disorders" as spurned by addictive behaviours, clinics are not popping up to 'treat' the alleged addiction.
A few private hospitals have been popping up over in the United Kingdom, including publicly funded clinics, to treat internet and gaming addictions. According to The Guardian, “Gaming disorder is finally getting the attention it deserves. The distress and harm it can cause is extreme and I feel a moral duty on behalf of the NHS to provide the evidence based treatment these young people and their families need,” said psychiatrist Henrietta Bowden-Jones, the clinic’s founder.
The founder added, “We are unlikely to witness an epidemic of young players with an addiction to gaming but for the ones who do struggle, the Centre for Internet Disorders will be a life-changer.”
While many not included in the gaming industry have been praising the classification, both gamers and those working professionally in this industry are crying foul. Right now, however, the plans to move forward in "gaming addiction" are full steam ahead, provided the proper funding, “This is the first step, but the Centre for Internet Disorders will deal with other internet compulsions, if and when needed, when funding is available. If we end up with 20 people or 30 wanting to be treated for porn addiction, for example ... if we have got the funding for that then we could provide help," explained the founder.
“Internet, social media and gaming addictive or dysfunctional behaviour has been rife for a long time and completely unaddressed other than by people like us,” added Jeff can Reened, an addiction program manager. That being said, there are professionals in the same field saying this is moving too fast and the classification was far too premature:1comments
"“I don’t think a centre for gaming or internet addiction is a good idea ... the worry is that it means you are only paying attention to what is going on in front of you rather than around you, which in this case would be the concept of a gaming disorder possibly suggesting that there could be no other reason why a person is seeking mental health treatment. A pigeonhole tactic could lead to misdiagnosis," added Anthony Bean, a psychologist that works in a Texas mental health clinic.
The community seems to be quite divided over the issue. What are your thoughts? Rightful concern or blatant scapegoat? Sound off with your thoughts int he comment section below!