It’s official, video game addiction is a bonafide mental health disorder: that’s according to none other than the World Health Organisation (WHO).
A new ruling from the UN health agency confirmed the amended status of gaming addiction as a serious condition, in which a diagnosis can be made in instances where video games “take precedence over other life interests” for an individual.
Policy-makers at the Geneva-based organisation upped the social responsibility anti for the video game industry by listing the new disorder on its updated International Classification of Diseases roster last week. Falling under the umbrella of the WHO’s grouping of “mental, behavioural or neurodevelopmental disorders,” video game addiction now finds itself classified alongside gambling disorder: with both conditions being framed in similar language, such as the description of each respective activity escalating “despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
Small surprise, then, that the gaming industry itself has responded with hostility to the new listing. “Gaming disorder is not based on sufficiently robust evidence to justify inclusion in one of the WHO’s most important norm-setting tools,” said a spokesman for the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA), one of the gaming industry’s largest trade bodies. “We are concerned they reached their conclusion without the consensus of the academic community.”