They are popular. They are controversial. And now, video games have just become an internationally recognized addiction.
On May 25, the World Health Organization officially voted to adopt the latest edition of its International Classification of Diseases, or ICD, to include an entry on “gaming disorder” as a behavioral addiction.
This is a move that could alarm parents all over the country. According to Pew, 97 percent of teen boys and 83 percent of girls play games on some kind of device.
But in order to be classified as having a disease, being a video game fan isn’t enough. According to WHO, the criteria doesn’t include a certain amount of hours spent playing. Instead, the description is of someone with an inability to stop playing even though it interferes with other areas of one’s life, such as family relationships, school, work, and sleep. And, these problems would typically continue for at least one year.
And although WHO’s voice is powerful, it’s not the last word in the world of science.
“There is a fairly even split in the scientific community about whether ‘tech addiction’ is a real thing,” says Dr. Michael Bishop, who runs Summerland, which he calls “a summer camp for screen overuse” for teens.
Read the whole story: NPR