The Jakarta Post
WHO describes gaming addiction as a 'pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior [‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’].' (Shutterstock/File)
As it becomes more widespread, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized gaming addiction as a mental health condition for the first time.
In fact, gaming addiction has become so much of an issue that the UK Addiction and Treatment Centers have seen a 300 percent rise in the number of admissions where gaming addiction is part of an adult’s reason for treatment in the past four years.
Read also: Video gaming addictive like crack: WHO
If you’re not yet sure what exactly gaming addiction is and how to spot it in your loved ones, here are some tips.
Firstly, WHO describes gaming addiction as a “pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior [‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’].”
“For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior 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,” states WHO’s guide.
Of course, plenty of teenagers and young adults play video games, which in itself is not cause for alarm. But as Internet Matters ambassador and psychologist Linda Papadopoulos explains to The Huffington Post, “Gaming can be a very positive experience but like most things when it comes to the online world it’s a matter of proportion.”
“The problem arises when children and teenagers start to neglect other areas of their lives in order to play online games, or when the only way they can relax is by playing games - as over time a child may start to turn to video games as a way of coping with difficult life issues.”
Papadopoulos says that parents should watch out for not just incessant gaming but getting angry or defensive when advised to stop; the disruption of daily needs such as food and sleep, which might also lead to physical symptoms; and finally, appearing preoccupied, depressed or lonely, as gaming alone can be isolating.
“You want to be looking at your child’s friends and peers and seeing whether or not they are doing something similar,” Richard Grantham, technology addiction lead at Nightingale Hospital, advises.
“One of the things that can mark somebody who has a tendency to addiction is that they will carry on when their friends or peers have stopped and they’re more likely to be playing with people they don’t know.”
If you suspect your child has a gaming addiction, experts advise reaching out immediately to get treatment. (sul/kes)