The World Health Organization has moved to make video game addiction as a mental disorder in 2018, officially called “gaming disorder.” Not surprisingly, there is backlash both from gamers and scientists in the field who have found beneficial effects from video games. Chris Ferguson, a psychology professor and prominent researcher who studies video game addiction and violence in the media, told CNN that diagnosing someone with “gaming disorder” might falsely diagnose the symptom, not the problem.
Another reason the internet is rebelling against this diagnosis? They fear big pharma and insurance companies will get behind it for financial gain. The WHO’s beta draft indicates three types of behavior that would define gaming addiction:
- Impaired control over gaming (and the ability to not be gaming)
- Increasing interest in gaming over other life priorities and interests
- More time spent gaming, despite seeing negative consequences from spending too much time gaming
To be diagnosed, these habits need to be ongoing for at least a year, but they can be “episodic” or, if especially dire, diagnosed in the short term.