by Adam Yardley
The allure of videogames – particularly for younger people, it’s assumed – has long been a concern for many, dating all the way back to the boom of the 80s and 90s. Videogames are now solidly part of the mainstream, and while concerns over depicted violence and adult content have always been a worry for parents and lobbyists alike, growing panic over quite how consuming certain games are for the younger players among us has reached a head. It’s thought that games such as Fortnite, which appeals to a young fanbase and which is available across several platforms, may be contributing towards what has been put forward as ‘gaming disorder’, which is getting legitimized by the International Classification of Diseases later this year.
Gaming Disorder is to be treated as a mental condition – and the ICD’s diagnostic manual is due to include the very topical term as part of its first update in 28 years, due for release before the year’s end. While the definition of the disorder has been outlined, the actual name for the condition is yet to be made official – and when it is, it will likely set precedent for diagnosis all over the world – but what, according to the ICD, is actually involved when it comes to this very current phenomenon? Is it simply a case of playing games for a few hours each day – or does it run deeper than that?
▶ Gaming Addiction Gets Mental Disorder Tag
Fear not – if you are a casual player, you’re unlikely to be diagnosed as having such a disorder – moreover, it will likely be used to help diagnose and treat those players who spend the vast majority of their time glued to consoles or PCs and whom feel obligated to do so. In a sense, it will be seen as a form of addiction, much in the same way that alcoholism can be defined. A compulsive need to continue playing videogames for up to 24 hours at a time – in the very worst cases – will likely open new doors for mental health support.
Videogames have provided concern for many people over the years, and while they are perhaps seen as less of a problem for families and parents these days as opposed to when they were a virtual unknown 30-40 years ago, some games can really pull you in – to a sometimes terrifying extent. The full diagnostic terminology lands soon.