Video Game Addiction: why the mental disorder, now recognised by the WHO, is on the rise

A viral video of the Filipino mother hand-feeding breakfast to her “zombie” son addicted to video Game has once again reignited the debate on youth video game addiction.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has started to take the addiction seriously. By classifying it, the WHO hopes to draw more attention to the disorder and its risks.

“My poor child… here, eat now,” the concerned Filipino mother can be heard telling the boy. “You have so much money, it might take till tomorrow for you to get home. Do you still need to pee? My goodness just feel sorry for my child. You are so irritating.”

Throughout the three-minute video, the 13-year-old barely acknowledges his mother’s presence. He keeps his eyes on the monitor as he chews the food the woman puts into his mouth.

Experts say parents must take this seriously. They must understand why gaming can be so addictive, why their children are so drawn to gaming. They need to set firm boundaries, time restrictions.

Last summer, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognised “gaming disorder” – compulsive and obsessive playing of video games – as a diagnosable condition. The 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases defines the disorder as being characterised by “impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences for at least 12 months,” the WHO said in a September 2018 Q&A.

The WHO’s recent classification has caused some countries to re-examine the problem, including Nintendo’s home country of Japan. Its ministry of health is currently conducting a fact-finding survey of gaming disorder, according to the Japan Times. About 1,500 people reportedly visit the National Hospital Organization Kurihama Medical and Addiction Center in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture yearly due to internet addiction. An estimated 90% of those people are video game addicts, mostly between the ages of 10 and 19, the medical center’s director told Japan Times.

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