Do you find it hard to resist picking up the controller, even when it's at the cost of other important things in your life? You could be suffering from a mental disorder according to the World Health Organisation, which has just published its 11th International Classification of Diseases - the first of its kind since 1992.
The BBC reports that in the new guide, gaming addiction has been listed as a mental health condition for the first time ever.
According to the guide, symptoms of this ailment include:
- impaired control over gaming (frequency, intensity, duration)
- increased priority given to gaming
- continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences
The guide comes at a time when many nations are struggling to deal with the issue of increased levels of game time among its younger citizens. In South Korea for example, where online gaming is incredibly popular, the government has introduced a law banning access for children under 16 from online games between midnight and 06:00 AM. Meanwhile in China, internet giant Tencent has introduced limits on the number of hours children can play its games.
Despite these moves, there is still some doubt as to whether gaming addiction is as widespread an issue as some would have us believe. The University of Oxford in the UK recently conducted a study which suggested that increased screen time didn't stop children from successfully managing other aspects of their lives.
Researcher Killian Mullan said:
People think that children are addicted to technology and in front of these screens 24/7, to the exclusion of other activities - and we now know that is not the case.
Our findings show that technology is being used with and in some cases perhaps to support other activities, like homework for instance, and not pushing them out.
Just like we adults do, children spread their digital tech use throughout the day, while doing other things.
Where do you stand on this issue? Do you think gaming addiction is a real concern, especially when you consider how much time we spend glued to screens watching TV, surfing the web or posting on social media? Given that gaming has positive benefits too, do you think this new guide could cause more harm than good, or do you feel (as with many things in life) too much of a good thing can be harmful?
Let us know with a comment.