Health & Medicine

Playing video games can be fun, but too much time doing so can be a disorder

People play the Nintendo video game “Mario Odyssey” during the Paris Games Week in November. The World Health Organization will soon list gaming disorder as a health condition.
People play the Nintendo video game “Mario Odyssey” during the Paris Games Week in November. The World Health Organization will soon list gaming disorder as a health condition. The Associated Press

Spending too much time playing video games can cause problems with family, friends and colleagues.

But can the activity be seen as a disorder? The World Health Organization says yes.

According to WHO’s International Classification of Diseases-11 Beta Draft, which was updated Monday, a gaming disorder “is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline.”

A Forbes magazine article reads that because it’s included in the draft, a gaming disorder will soon be classified as a health condition.

The draft states the disorder can manifest in three ways:

▪ Impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context).

▪ Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities.

▪ Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

In short, playing video games is OK as long as it’s done in moderation and doesn’t become the main priority in a person’s life.

According to the draft, it would take a year to establish a gaming disorder diagnosis, or sooner in extreme cases.

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