Gaming Disorder

By, Dr. Kerris Dillon

In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) added Gaming Disorder to the ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases), which is used by health practitioners all over the world to properly diagnose physical and mental conditions. Scholars and health practitioners reviewed multiple studies concerning video games and decided that it fit the criteria of addictive behavior.

Individuals with Gaming Disorder have trouble comprehending the amount of time spent gaming and have difficulties doing anything else. In addition, the amount of gaming that they do is so significant it impacts their health and they choose gaming over a majority of other activities.

If someone is going to be diagnosed with Gaming Disorder, they have to have the following characteristics for 12 consecutive months including understanding the negative aspects of gaming, but doing it anyway, playing games over a majority of other activities, as well as not being able to control one’s gaming habits and the amount of time spent.

In addition to playing and prioritizing video games, the individual’s gaming interferes with the person’s work, schooling, family, social life, and personal habits. The most consequential features of video gaming include a sedentary lifestyle in which a person has a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, sleep issues, as well as other significant issues. Due to the isolation of video games, individuals are also at a higher risk of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideas.

If you have a child with Gaming Disorder, it is important to first educate them about the disorder. Spending time together as a family doing non-gaming activities is important and should be done at least once a week. If the child reacts angrily or with great frustration, seeking professional counseling may be necessary as the condition could grow worse.

There are many aspects to video games that are positive for children. Children that play video games often do much better on standardized testing within school. They also tend to have coordinated fine motor skills that children who do not play do not always have. Talking about the importance of balance is necessary in regards to children and video games. Parents also need to be aware of the video games that their children are playing and any violence or aggression that results during or after the video game has been played.

There is some evidence to suggest that playing video games constantly within one’s youth leads to more online video games and gambling problems. This is why it is so important for parents to be aware of how much time children are spending playing video games and the types of games that they find entertaining. It is in childhood where individuals often learn their sense of balance and lifelong habits. Persons only experience childhood once and parents need to consistently be aware of the messages that they are sending.

Video gaming can be so much fun, but life needs balance. Getting outside and playing games can be fun as well.

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