Gaming addiction has officially been classified as a mental health condition by the World Health Organization. Earlier today a revision to a disease classification manual stated that "compulsively playing video games" is to be seen and treated as a serious medical disorder: "Gaming Disorder."
As you can imagine, the news that "Gaming Disorder" is now recognized as a mental health condition is going to cause widespread concern and anxiety among parents, who no doubt watch their kids play video games for hours ever week. Are they addicted, or are they just a normal kid who loves video games? British Psychological Society spokeswoman Dr. Joan Harvey told Time that parents need to resist jumping to conclusions.
“People need to understand this doesn’t mean every child who spends hours in their room playing games is an addict, otherwise medics are going to be flooded with requests for help,” she said.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, though, we see young gamers who most certainly are addicted to video games. Just last week we published a story about a young girl who had to get taken for treatment after depriving herself of sleep, and losing focus in school, because she was sneaking in late-night, multi-hour Fortnite sessions. In fact, Fortnite has been a major part of the discussion this morning, with most media outlets singling out the game specifically.
In light of the parental panic about children’s supposed addiction to #Fortnite and other titles, the WHO will controversially codify 'gaming disorder' as a new mental health condition https://t.co/YfYc2k4Udu— Ronan Price (@RonanPrice) June 18, 2018
Children addicted to video games such as Fortnite will be able to seek treatment on the NHS after the WHO is to classify gaming as a medical disorder. @MaajidNawaz asks: Is gaming addiction real? pic.twitter.com/FIF6Yw7zDt— LBC (@LBC) June 17, 2018
Dad and I were watching the news when a piece on gaming addiction started.
Dad: Do you play Fortnite?
(Note, they hadn't even mentioned any particular games, so how he knew about Fortnite idek)
Me: No, of course not.
Me: I play Overwatch.— Catherine Slavova (@CSlavova) June 18, 2018
It really shows how successful fortnite is considering it’s probably the main reason gaming addiction is now classed as a mental disorder— TheMcGhee (@KyleMcGhee2) June 18, 2018
Walked past the tv yesterday to see something about gaming addiction being officially recognised and there was gameplay of fortnite while it was on, I nearly died laughing— karmotrine🐝🍸 (@karmotrinedream) June 18, 2018
As you can see, the hit game and this new medical classification are typically paired together in headlines and in quotes from doctors and experts. It's a joke to some of us, but for many families, it's a serious and scary thing.
Have you ever been addicted to a video game? Did you play World of Warcraft or FIFA for prolonged periods of time? If this new classification were in place when you were playing those games, do you thin you would have been diagnosed with Gaming Disorder? Let us know in the comments below!